In order to integrate oral health into systemic health the communities of Dentistry, Nursing and Medicine need to work together/learn together/ develop mutual respect.
Programs in high school have to be developed to explain the dental profession and make it attractive for students to think about the dental field. The program has to reach diverse schools and reach the various populations.
My suggestion is to make a concerted and focused effort to train dentists in master level research methods to engage them clinical and translation research. This could both increase the number of DDS investigators and the diversity of the DDS research workforce. An MS/MPH takes less time than a PhD, provides the base knowledge needed to conduct clinical research, and would increase the pipeline of DDS researchers.
In our ever changing society, it is important to have a well represented workforce of dental healthcare providers. Do the dental schools do a good enough job in promoting diversity in their students and their professors, and if not, what are the barriers to this diversity and how can we change this over the next 16 years.
Strengthen the nation’s investment in the oral health research infrastructure and increase the number and scope of oral health research collaborations across the health sciences at all research institutions, including federal agencies, academic institutions, industry and private non-profit organizations.
Study the impact on oral and overall health of alternative oral health providers such as dental therapist, expanded duty auxiliaries, nurses, physicians and pharmacist. Assessment of this workforce using the goals of the Triple Aim.
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.
The organization and leadership of the dental profession has had a major role in developing the current situation - burden of oral diseases both globally and nationally and without fundamental change in the leadership of the profession, change will be almost if not totally impossible.