Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Dentistry | Public Health

Abstract

One of the major challenges faced by the dental profession today is the recruitment of the most qualified dental school applicants who are capable of serving the nation’s future oral healthcare needs. The Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) also recognizes this challenge, describing one of the three core functions of public health as “assuring that all populations have access to appropriate and cost effective care, including health promotion and disease prevention services.” To achieve this core function, the ASPH cites “a competent public health and personal healthcare workforce” as one of the ten essential public health services. Unfortunately, the goals of both quality and equality in terms of the dental workforce and access to oral healthcare have yet to be realized. When considering access to oral health services on a national or state level, a thoughtful and thorough consideration of the dental school applicant pool is essential. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the annual number of retiring dentists will exceed the number of newly licensed dental practitioners in 2009, a trend which is projected to continue throughout the next decade. The approximately 4,400 dentists produced each year from the nation’s 57 accredited dental education programs are charged with the responsibility of meeting the oral healthcare needs of the population at large.

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