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Nurse Practitioners Play Vital Role in Oral Health

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Maria Dolce, PhD, RN
Maria Dolce, PhD, RN

A national survey of nurse practitioner (NP) training program educators reveals that a large majority of responders believe graduates’ level of oral health training and competence is at a high level, and therefore NPs are vital and integral to oral health care practices. The study, conducted by the Center for Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health (CIPCOH), is published in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Lead investigator Maria Dolce, PhD, RN, an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University School of Nursing, says the findings “hold promise for addressing the gap in access to oral health care and eliminating disparities in the United States.” Since 2000, when the U.S. Surgeon General called for increased awareness of the importance of oral health to overall health, efforts to bring oral health into primary care training in nursing and other health professions have steadily increased. Most (86 percent) of the responding NP programs indicate that oral health is integrated in their curriculum.

The study is one of several that examine primary care training programs and oral health care competency by CIPCOH and partnering institutions, including Stony Brook University, Harvard University School of Medicine and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. For more information about the study, see this press release.

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