CDC Announces Medical-Dental Integration Partnership  

October 15, 2020

CDC’s Division of Oral Health (DOH) has awarded funding to the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to develop a national framework for medical-dental integration. This framework will outline opportunities to integrate medical and dental services in different healthcare and public health settings to support populations with unmet oral health needs and associated chronic diseases. NACDD has extensive experience conducting high-level strategic meetings and convening diverse partners representing national landscapes for public health and dental public health, chronic disease care, and medical health systems.

The first year of the project will focus on examining current programmatic and clinical medical-dental integration strategies. This assessment will provide insight into the various perspectives—across a broad sector of organizations that have a vested interest in this topic—that should be invited to a listening session in year two. NACDD is working with KDH Research and Communication (KDHRC), an Atlanta, GA-based public health and public policy firm that partners with federal agencies and other clients to provide research, evaluation, health science communication, and program development services.

CDC/DOH looks forward to working with NACDD and KDHRC to advance an approach to address medical-dental integration. By facilitating rich conversations among subject matter experts, we aim to develop recommendations and strategies that will form the basis of a national medical-dental integration framework for dental public health, clinical dentistry, and primary medical care settings that can be implemented at the state, tribal, local, and territorial levels.

DOH provides leadership to improve the nation’s oral health by working to integrate dental public health into a national dialogue focused on broad health system transformation. Implementing policies that focus on reducing disparities in tooth decay and increasing collaboration between medical and dental health care are key strategies to promote health systems change. DOH has made strategic investments to strengthen medical-dental integration and build practice-based evidence through piloting state-level oral health and other chronic disease program collaborations.

Under our cooperative agreement State Actions to Improve Oral Health Outcomes (DP18-1810 Component 2), CDC/DOH awarded funding to five states (CO, CT, ND, SC, and VA) to implement medical-dental integration projects. NACDD provides technical support for this project under the cooperative agreement Partner Actions to Improve Oral Health Outcomes (DP-18-1811 Component 2) and is working with states to document and promote their successes and challenges over the five-year project period.