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Rural Health Information Hub

Staff Needed to Support Programs

Staff needs for rural oral health programs depend on the goals of the program, program model, and a program's intended audience. 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 may work with a health educator. For example, one rural 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
Recruitment and retention tips for programs attempting to build a strong, high-quality, dental workforce. Provides links to recruitment tools that dental practices can use in their efforts to recruit dental professionals.
Organization(s): National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA)
Date: 7/2016

Safety Net Dental Clinic Manual: Section 3. Staffing
Provides information in table format on staffing compositions for community dental programs regarding physician to patient ratio, hourly and daily capacity goals, and patient pool size according to the number of staff and dental operatories. Discusses alternative practice for dental hygienists and the expanded function of dental assistants.
Organization(s): National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC)