The present system of delivery, delivers the same care in essentially the same way and reaches only about 35% of the population. Why should those in a “diverse” population want to join the healthcare workforce? If we can find alternative ways to make care available to those "diverse" populations (i.e., via telehealth) then those who are part of the “diverse” population will want to join the movement as providers.
Patient outcomes in varying delivery systems (this can include cost effectiveness, workforce models, telehealth, access to care, direct access, etc). Outcomes data needs to be collected to determine if diverse workforce models are leading to improved access to care and are cost effective - for example mid-level providers, collaborative practice, etc.
NIH has many training programs and policies that are based on NIH values. Consider making some of these available to a wider community, and design training to get those values out into the public. For example, NIH may be able to share policies and training used to guide staff in making decisions. Some potential areas could be technology transfer, cyber security, administration, and laboratory safety.
Integrating dental health care into school curriculums starting in Kindergarten. Currently, dental care and education at best occurs twice a year at the dentist office – approximately 1-2 hours a year. However, if there are opportunities for children to reinforce and expand their knowledge base on good dental care, this may help make good dental habits that will last forever.
Because research is becoming more and more multidisciplinary, the Institute should also expand its effort to participate/create in consortia focused on tackling specific oral/tooth/craniofacial conditions. (For instance, they already participate in the “Brittle Bone Disease Consortium” when it comes to study the impact of OI on teeth and Dentinogenesis imperfect)
Today's technology is constantly evolving. Imaging equipment such as CBCT, digital dental impressions, prosthetic driven implant placement, crowns mill at the dental office just to mention a few will force dental school to modify the curriculum and teaching methods.
This NIDCR new idea event is a good beginning. A routinely-operated platform for dental professionals will make big difference for future dentistry and future NIDCR.
Aside from interprofessional education and oral health exposure early in training, we need to study what strategies are effective in changing practice of primary care physicians and their dental counterparts to better communicate, collaborate, and work together to prevent oral disease.