Reasons for Partnerships
Reducing disparities in access to dental care is a major social problem, and there are no easy solutions. The five California dental schools have formed partnerships with other organizations in California concerned with dental access issues. Collectively, these organizations are likely to be more effective in reducing disparities than any one organization by itself.
At this time, the major partner organizations include the California Dental Association, the California Primary Care Association, and leaders from California Federally Qualified Health Centers. All of these organizations have a long-standing commitment to reducing dental access disparities and have worked closely with the California dental schools. As the Pipeline program matures, partnerships may be formed with additional California organizations.
California Dental Association (CDA)
The CDA represents the interests of the 17,000 dentists now practicing in California. A primary concern of the CDA is to reduce dental care access disparities in the State. To this end, the CDA has been a strong supporter of the Pipeline program and has provided the dental schools funds to support their post-baccalaureate programs and scholarships for disadvantaged students. The CDA has also worked closely with the dental schools to promote legislation that will reduce dental access disparities.
In the Phase II California Pipeline program, the CDA has a three year subcontract with the Pipeline program to run an annual dental health policy summit. The purpose of the summit is to bring together the major stakeholder organizations in California concerned with access to dental care. This meeting will be an opportunity for the different groups to exchange ideas and to work together to develop strategies that will lead to the enactment of legislation to reduce disparities.
The CDA is represented on the Community-Based Dental Education Committee and participates in all major Pipeline meetings. Likewise, the Pipeline Co-Directors meet periodically with the CDA leadership to keep them informed of Pipeline activities in the State and to work cooperatively on issues of common interest.
California Primary Care Association (CPCA)
The CPCA represents the interests of community health clinics (CHCs) in California that provide medical and dental care to underserved populations. Based on a recent survey, over 170 CPCA member clinics provide dental care, and many others are planning to build the capacity to offer dental services. The CPCA´s primary functions are to provide technical support to CHCs and to be their advocate with the executive and legislative branches of state government. The CPCA has a standing committee, the Oral Health Access Committee (OHAC), that has responsibility for advising the CPCA Board on oral health related legislation. The dental schools and the Pipeline program are represented on OHAC and work closely with the CPCA leadership in developing legislative initiatives to improve access to dental care for underserved populations.
The CPCA has a three year contract from the Pipeline program to promote communications between the Pipeline programs and CHCs dental programs. This includes both the expected 15 FQHCs that have formal partnership relationships with dental schools and the many others where there are no financial incentives. The communication plan is still in development but is likely to include Webcasts, covering topics of interest to CHC dental directors and staff, continuing education courses, programs on oral health at CPCA regional and statewide meetings, and quarterly conference calls with partner FQHCs.
The CPCA is represented on the Community-Based Dental Education Committee and participates in all major Pipeline meetings. Likewise, the Pipeline Co-Directors meet periodically with the CPCA leadership to keep them informed on Pipeline activities in the State and to work cooperatively on issues of common interest.
Federally Qualified Health Centers(FQHCs)
Because of the key role of FQHCs in the Phase II California Pipeline program, senior FQHC dental directors and clinic administrators serve on the Community-Based Dental Education Committee. They provide invaluable help in formulating Pipeline programs and policies that are practical and have the support of the FQHC community. The FQHC members participate in all California Pipeline meetings and have an important role in implementing the Phase II program.
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