Dental Public Health Residency (DPHR) Program Frequently Asked Questions
Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling oral diseases and promoting oral health through organized community efforts. It is a form of dental practice that serves a community rather than an individual as the patient. It is concerned with oral health education of the public, applied dental research, the administration of group dental care programs, and the prevention and control of oral diseases at the community level.
Dental public health residents work on a variety of research projects that are typically guided by the residents’ professional interests and the mission of CDC’s Division of Oral Health. With the support of the Division’s epidemiology, statistical, and policy personnel, Residents have the opportunity to publish their research project in a scientific journal. Examples of research projects completed by Residents include:
- Untreated Caries Among US Working-Aged Adults and Association with Reporting Need for Dental Care.external icon
- Examining Trends of Untreated Dental Caries and Dental Sealant Utilization among Mexican-American Children and Adolescents.
- Prevalence of and Changes in Tooth Loss Among Adults >50 Years with Selected Chronic Conditions – United States, 1999–2004 and 2011–2016.
- Trends and Disparities in Tooth Loss and Untreated Tooth Decay among Adults 65 years and older, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2004 and 2011–2016.
The DPHR Program provides a pathway for a wide range of careers. Many program graduates choose careers in health settings, where they work with public health and dental colleagues in federal, state, or local health agencies; voluntary organizations; research institutions; or health care delivery or reimbursement systems.
- CDC’s DPHR Program is the only federal training program that provides residents the opportunity to gain knowledge, experience, and skills across all 10 competency areas outlined by the American Board of Dental Public Health (ABDPH).external icon
- After completing the program, Residents are prepared and eligible to take their Dental Public Health Certification offered through ABDPH.
- CDC’s DPHR Program is one of the few dental public health residencies in which Residents receive a stipend.
- Residents build an individualized training plan that aligns with their interests and experience while also contributing to CDC’s strategic objectives.
- Residents have the opportunity to publish their research projects, conduct field experience, and work alongside a team of subject matter experts at the nation’s leading public health agency.
Residents complete research projects and field experience at CDC partner agencies, such as state health departments. The network of relationships with these partners puts residents in a unique position to pursue competitive positions and opportunities after completing the program.
The Residency Training Plan is an individualized training plan focused on the American Board of Dental Public Health (ABDPH)external icon core competencies. As part of their plan, each Resident will collaborate in guided practice with public health and dental stakeholders across an array of health care settings. Each Resident is expected to develop scientific inquiry and research skills—particularly in the areas of oral health surveillance and epidemiology—and will complete a supervised field experience and applied research project. At the end of their residency, residents will earn a certificate of completion that meets the education requirements established by the ABDPH and can prepare for board specialty certification.
Yes, stipends for Residents are provided through CDC’s Fellowship Program. This program is designed to encourage training for research and advancing health science. In 2019, program stipends ranged from $45,000 to $65,000, depending on the Resident’s prior professional experience. Stipends for part-time Residents are considered on a case-by-case basis.
No. This is a residency training for dentists who plan to become dental public health specialists.
If you are currently enrolled in an MPH program, you may apply only if you will graduate by December 2021.
There is no minimum GPA, but applicants accepted into the program typically have a GPA of 3.5 or higher for their MPH degree. If you are still enrolled in your MPH program at the time of application, your current GPA will be requested within the application.
The five required courses for the MPH or comparable degree are biostatistics, epidemiology, health care policy and management, environmental health, and behavioral sciences. Applicants who completed their public health training at an institution outside the United States must demonstrate satisfactory completion of two or more years (full-time equivalent) of advanced education in an area related to the practice of public health in addition to the content areas described above.
No. Applicants may choose between a full-time (12 month) or part-time (24 month) residency.
See the Applying to DPHR page for detailed application instructions. Applicants will need to email the following materials in a single zip file package pdf icon[PDF – 482KB] that is received by the deadline:
- Completed Application Requirements Checklist and Application pdf icon[PDF – 207KB]
- Curriculum Vitae
- Copies of unofficial transcripts for both DDS and MPH degrees (note, there are additional requirements from degrees obtained outside the US; see section below for more information for international applicants).
Three letters of recommendation written in English are also required and must be submitted separately. Applicants need to ensure that their references submit recommendation letters directly to the program by the deadline.
The application cycle is open August-September each year.
No. References may not be a relative to the applicant. Letters may be written by professors or work supervisors who are able to describe academic or professional accomplishments.
Yes. Letters of recommendation should be sent via email to DPHResidency@cdc.gov by the application deadline or the application will be deemed incomplete, and therefore not reviewed. Letters of recommendation must be:
- Written in English.
- On the reference’s letterhead.
- Signed by the reference and dated.
- Sent as an attachment from the reference’s email account.
Acceptance into the CDC DPHR Program is extremely competitive. We typically accept one or two Residents each year.
In addition to strong academic training and dental experience, successful applicants typically have interests and experience working with public health and dental stakeholders to improve oral health for populations. Residents should be interested in developing skills in the methods of scientific inquiry and research, particularly in the areas of oral health epidemiology and population-based efforts to prevent oral diseases and promote oral health. Details should be highlighted within the Letter of Intent and Experience: Research and/or Non-Research sections of the application. Information provided will be assessed based on how well each applicant is able to articulate their goals, their conciseness, and must be free of grammatical errors. Please note that previous research experience is ideal, although not required.
Yes, you may apply. International applicants must:
- Have their courses evaluated by a credentialing organization for transcripts from educational institutions outside the United States.
- Submit their TOEFL scores, if they do not have a previous degree from the United States.
No. At the time of submitting your application, your unofficial, previously received or expired evaluations are sufficient. The same applies for transcripts. If accepted into the residency program, you will be asked to provide official evaluations and transcripts, which you may need to pay for. Please note that the evaluation is only required IF you completed your DDS and/or MPH outside of the United States.
No. To be eligible for this residency program and the American Board of Dental Public Health (ABDPH)external icon examination, the graduate-level degree course content must include environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology, health care policy and management, and behavioral sciences. If your coursework does not include courses in all of those areas, then you need to take the required graduate courses at an accredited institution and send us proof of completion along with your Master’s transcript. For more information on which coursework is required, please see the Admission Requirements Checklist and Application pdf icon[PDF – 207KB].
No, you do not need a US dental license to apply.
In the United States, licensure requirements vary from state to state. Contact the board of dentistry in the state of your interest for current information about licensure requirements and laws.
No. TOEFL scores are required only for applicants who received both their dental and their public health degrees from institutions outside of the United States.