Online Program

Need for dentists with formal training in public health: The development of the DMD/MPH program

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wanda Wright, DDS, MS, MSD, Department of Public Health & Community Service, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
Jennifer Au, MPH, Department of Public Health & Community Service, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
Many graduate programs in public health offer students the opportunity to enroll in combined degree programs. The most frequent dual degrees offered at member schools of the Association of Schools of Public Health are: MD/MPH, JD/MPH, MSN/MPH, MSW/MPH, and MBA/MPH. Dentistry and public health have traditionally not worked as synergistic disciplines because they are based on different care models. However, a number of different imperatives emphasize the need for this type of combined expertise to address oral health problems and workforce shortages. As a recognized specialty by the American Dental Association, dental public health remains a very small group with less than 200 diplomats credentialed in dental public health. Most advanced degree programs in public health do not offer a specialty in dental public health, and those dental professionals receiving masters or doctoral public health degrees may have had no specific coursework related to dental public health. In response to this need, a new option at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) was initiated to offer a combined DMD/MPH program. We describe the development process, which includes the philosophy guiding the program, initiation of the program, setting goals and objectives, identifying course content, funding, and selecting applicants, as well as first year challenges and successes. The program was successfully funded and participant selection, registration, and enrollment procedures have been developed. Course content and performance standards have been established. The experience at TUSDM can help guide others contemplating a combined dental/MPH program.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the need for dentists with formal training in public health. Describe the educational goals and curriculum of the DMD/MPH program. Describe successes and challenges of this program's first year.

Keyword(s): Public Health, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health and the director of the DMD/MPH program at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. I developed the program, successfully applied for funding, and developed the goals and objectives of the program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.