This presentation will provide the audience with an overview of the U.S. Public Health Service and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on oral health in this country. Expanding upon the pandemic and the opportunities it presents to oral health, the speaker will discuss oral health inequities that have persisted throughout the U.S. and describe some of the drivers of access to care including cost of oral health, workforce issues, and social determinants of oral health. The speaker will then use the workforce framework as a segue into the opportunities posed by multi-directional integration of oral health and overall health.
• Objective 1: Define oral health equity and differentiate between inequities and disparities.
• Objective 2: List and describe at least five social determinants of health and how they might impact delivery of oral health services.
• Objective 3: Describe at least three opportunities for oral health professionals to engage in multi-directional medical-dental-behavioral health integrated care.
Timothy L. Ricks, D.M.D., M.P.H., F.I.C.D., currently serves as the 20th Chief Dental Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service as well as Assistant Surgeon General. He serves as the Surgeon General’s spokesperson on oral health and interacts with chief dental officers from other countries, with military chief dental officers, with leaders in organized dentistry, with state oral health programs, and much more. Rear Adm. Ricks has served in the U.S. Public Health Service for over 21 years. Prior to this service, he was an associate dentist, independent contractor, and sole proprietor, and he also served as a military police officer in the Army National Guard. In addition to his role as USPHS Chief Dental Officer, he also serves in various roles in the Indian Health Service including Continuing Dental Education Coordinator (responsible for 250-300 courses each year), Expanded Function Dental Assistant Coordinator (oversees training and certification of 2,000 EFDAs), IHS National Oral Health Surveillance Coordinator, and National Oral Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Coordinator.