Dentists Join Forces to Tackle Dental Divide

Posted on October 9, 2013

INDEPENDENCE, OhioSept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today a new organization of dentists announced the launch of Dentists for Oral Health Innovation (DOHI) with a singular focus – to help expand patients' access to high-quality, cost-effective dental care. The launch of DOHI comes at a critical time with America facing a serious gap between patients who have access to dental care and those without it.Patients face a number of barriers to oral health access, whether geographical, financial, or educational.

  • Geography: Some states have just 65 dentists per 100,000 people — fewer than the number of physicians for that same population.

  • Financial: As many as 130 million Americans live without dental insurance coverage.

  • Education: Many Americans do not understand the integral role oral health plays in general health.  

"DOHI started with a group of dentists coming together to advocate for patient access to dental care," said Dr. Samson Liu, president of DOHI. "We believe that there is not one solution to the disparities in oral health and all dental practice models have a central role in addressing this issue. It is essential for America's entire dental community to work together to expand access to convenient and affordable dental care in at-risk communities nationwide."

DOHI seeks to address some of these barriers by focusing on three key commitments:

  • Patient care: DOHI member dentists are dedicated to spending as much time as possible on delivering care to patients.

  • Continuing Education and technology: DOHI members are committed to staying abreast of the latest dental techniques and technologies.

  • Philanthropy: DOHI members recognize the value in giving back, whether locally, nationally or internationally. For example, efforts such as mobile dental clinics and free in-office weekend visits help eliminate some of the barriers patients experience in their search for care.

The mission of the organization is to expand access to high-quality, cost-effective care through the use of advancing models and methods. Examples of these models and methods include engaging others with progressive systems to handle aspects related to human resources, marketing, legal matters and insurance processing, among others. These resources enable dentists to not only meet the paperwork requirements of patients, but allow them to devote more time to patient care. By focusing on clinical services rather than business and administrative tasks, dentists increase patients' and communities' access to the oral health care they need. DOHI's next step is to unveil its nationwide campaign to address the dental health crisis. 

"We are passionate about joining others such as the American Dental Association in this fight," said Dr. Edward Meckler, executive director of DOHI. "Through DOHI, we've established a foundation to launch a national campaign that acts to significantly diminish the number of Americans who lack the dental care they need. We are prepared and excited to chart the course of our movement towards closing the current access gap."

To learn more about DOHI, visit www.OralHealthInnovation.org.

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