Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

New Measures Assess Oral Health for Pregnant Persons

The Dental Quality Alliance released two measures that are intended to assess the extent to which pregnant persons are accessing the dental care delivery system. The measures also assess routine care that includes examination, risk assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.

American Dental Public Health Group Launches Veterans Oral Health Initiatives

Did you know veterans experience poorer oral health outcomes compared to non-veterans? The American Institute for Dental Public Health (AIDPH) has been working hard to improve oral health for American veterans. Their latest initiatives include the Veteran Oral Health Dashboard and a veterans oral health listserv. AIDPH is also asking for help in disseminating their second survey focused on giving space to veterans to share their oral health stories. If you work with veterans, please consider sharing the survey. Veteran voices are crucial in education and advocacy efforts.

Click here to view the dashboard.
Click here to join the listserv.
Click here for the veteran survey.

Report Highlights Lessons from Dental Utilization During the Pandemic

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health released a visual report examining dental procedure utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic, using Medicaid and commercial insurance claims data to find differences in trends by age and insurance type. The authors note a need for the oral health profession to maintain a state of emergency readiness to be able to provide consistent care in the face of future public health emergencies.

Click here to view the report.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Highlights Benefits of Community Water Fluoridation During Visit to Shippensburg 

Pennsylvania Physician General and Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Denise Johnson was in Shippensburg last week speaking to the safety and benefits of community water fluoridation. In the last few years, Shippensburg faced a fluoridation rollback threat that was overcome with the help of local oral health stakeholders. Dr. Johnson and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are encouraging water systems that do not currently fluoridate to consider initiating for the best interest of their customers. Executive Director Helen Hawkey and Public Health Dental Director Dr. Jonise McDaniel were in attendance.

Healthy Eating for Healthy Children: A Course for Dental Hygienists

The Oral Health Program at the Rhode Island Department of Health released a new online course to teach dental hygienists how to talk to parents and caregivers about food choices for children. This innovative approach focuses on using accessible and encouraging language as well as providing talking points and conversation starters to use with parents during dental visits. The course is free and takes approximately 80 minutes to complete.

Click here for more information and to take the workshop.

American Dental Association Launches Health Equity Initiative

The American Dental Association (ADA) launched a new Health Equity Action Team to help reduce disparities in oral health. Among the panelists is Dr. James Mancini, a Pennsylvania dentist and PA Coalition for Oral Health stakeholder. The ADA also published a Healthy Equity Resources webpage with resources for dentists to use to take action in their own communities.

Click here to read the ADA announcement.

Click here to view the Health Equity Resources page.

CDC Issues Health Advisory For Dental Health Care Personnel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Health Alert Network Health Advisory regarding nontuberculous Mycobacteria infections associated with contaminated dental unit waterlines and the need for dental health care personnel (DHCP) to follow established recommendations to ensure the safety of their patients. While rare, there have been multiple documented cases of disease transmission from dental unit waterlines. Dental unit waterlines promote bacterial growth and development of biofilm, thus all dental unit waterlines must be treated regularly with chemical germicides. The health advisory contains recommendations and a list of resources for DHCP to visit to learn more information.

Click here for the recommendations.

American Institute of Public Health Releases Dental Workforce Report

The American Institute of Public Health (AIDPH) released a research brief, “The Financial and Policy Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on U.S. Dental Care Workers.”

The brief evaluates trends and differences of the dental health care workforce before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and assesses the impact of dental health care worker shortages by state and geographic region. Executive Director Helen Hawkey and Dr. Sean Boynes are among the authors. An interactive dashboard is being developed to map the changes among dental health care workers.

Click here to read the report.

Pennsylvania Pediatric Dentist Among 2022-23 White House Fellows

In a first, a dentist is among the broad cross section of highly accomplished professionals chosen to serve as White House Fellows. In the prestigious leadership program, fellows work alongside public servants at the highest levels of the executive branch of the United States government.

Jacqueline Burgette, D.M.D., Ph.D., joined elite company this summer when she was tapped to become one of 15 White House Fellows to serve in 2022-23. It’s an estimable club that has previously included award-winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, M.D., and the late former Secretary of State and Gen. Colin Powell.

Each year, fellows emerge from a rigorous and competitive selection process and hail from the private sector, local government, academia, the nonprofit sector, medicine, law and the armed forces. Dr. Burgette applied to become a White House Fellow with the primary aim of serving her country and furthering her interests in policymaking.

“I have been called to public service since childhood, volunteering in state government elections and serving as a page in the Washington State House of Representatives,” she said. “Since then, I have been involved in policymaking at every stage of my graduate education, including advocating during dental school for insurance coverage for children with cleft lip and palate, as well as spearheading involvement in national advocacy efforts as a pediatric dentistry resident.”

A 2010 graduate of Harvard School of Dental Medicine, she earned a pediatric dentistry certificate and a doctorate in health policy and management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry in 2016. She is a diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and an assistant professor in the department of dental public health and department of pediatric dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.

According to the mission statement adopted in 1964 by the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships: “The purpose of the White House Fellows program is to provide gifted and highly motivated emerging leaders with some first-hand experience in the process of governing the nation and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society.”

From her perspective, Dr. Burgette said, “The White House Fellows program has shown me that so many of us can make an impact by participating in our government and that my skills as a public health expert, researcher-clinician and educator are valuable, versatile assets.”

As a 2022-23 fellow, Dr. Burgette, who is from Issaquah, Washington, will work with the Office of the National Cyber Director. During her fellowship year, she will work under the mentorship of the office’s director, Chris Inglis, and its principal deputy, Kemba Walden.

“It is a privilege to learn from their incredible examples,” Dr. Burgette said. “In the Office of National Cyber Director, I am excited to learn about the security of our digital health information. This is a public health issue that affects all aspects of our health care system across the country, including and beyond dentistry. We all have a part to play in cybersecurity, and my experience caring for patients and performing research in many health care delivery systems — from private practices to community clinics to large health systems — empowers me to help advance the cybersecurity of our health care and public health infrastructure.”

To read more about Dr. Burgette, visit the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine website, and to learn more about the White House Fellows, go to


New Oral Health Resource Available: Older Adult Oral Health Resources for Collaboration

The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) has released a new resource, “Older Adult Oral Health Resources for Collaboration.” The resource was developed by individuals from state public health programs, academia, and clinicians caring for older adults in a variety of settings. It includes include information on the link between oral health and overall health, oral health and chronic disease, special populations, ventilator and non-ventilator pneumonia, nutrition, financing routine dental care, information for non-dental providers, teledentistry, and equity.

Click here to check out the resource.