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Rural Health Information Hub

Adapting Programs to Serve Your Community

Rural communities may also take guidance and direction for oral health programs from promising programs. One rural community developed a program that combines treatment and education services in a dental clinic by adapting a dental disease management initiative focused on risk-based treatment and patient education, Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA). The United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. Dental Support Center provides an organizational model and guidelines that can be adapted to rural community attributes.

Rural communities are also adapting program activities to best serve their populations. For example, when providing mobile dental services in rural areas, a dental van can be moved to various locations on a weekly basis, rather than a daily basis, to accommodate for the longer travel distances. Additionally, a mobile dental services program may incorporate a teledentistry component to prescreen and diagnose patients before the van arrives in a particular community.

To accommodate patient schedules, some programs provide two-to-three day portable clinic access events at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and health departments. These events are staffed by dental and medical professionals and community member volunteers and offer opportunities to access care without an appointment.

Resources to Learn More

State of Alaska, Oral Health
Provides a brief overview of the Alaska Oral Health Plan and its emphasis on workforce development, prevention, water fluoridation and oral health for individuals with special needs. Includes link to the State Oral Health Plan (2012-2016).
Organization(s): Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health