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Staff Needed to Support Programs

Talented staff plays an important role in the success of any rural oral health program. Staff needs for rural oral health programs depend on the goals of the program, program model, and target population. For example, programs that aim to deliver oral health services in a dental clinic model must have access to dental professionals. If it is not feasible to hire a full-time dentist, programs may ask dentists in the area to donate time or work with dental students from local dentistry schools. Programs with an outreach component may need to hire an outreach coordinator. Programs with a school-based education component work may work with a health educator. For example, one school-based program model retained the services of a health educator in a “tooth fairy” costume to educate children about oral health.

Common types of rural oral health program staff are listed below. Programs may hire full or part-time staff and work with volunteers and students. Many programs work with bilingual providers and staff. The roles of different staff members may overlap.

  • Program director
  • Program manager
  • Program coordinator
  • Dentist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental assistant
  • Receptionist
  • Case manager
  • Billing manager
  • Outreach worker
  • Educator
  • Evaluator
  • Community liaison
  • Grant writer

Resources to Learn More

Recruitment and Retention Tips for Human Resources and Dental Directors
The National Network for Oral Health Access has compiled recruitment and retention tips for programs attempting to build a strong, high-quality, dental workforce. It also contains links to recruitment tools that dental practices can use in their efforts to recruit dental professionals.
Organization(s): National Network for Oral Health Access
Date: 08/2011

Safety Net Dental Clinic Manual - Facilities and Staffing
This online chapter in the Safety Net Dental Clinic Manual provides information about staffing size and mix, alternative practice for dental hygienists, and the expanded function of dental assistants.
Organization(s): National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center