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Experts Call for Radical Reform in Oral Health Care

New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry’s World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Quality Improvement and Evidence-Based Dentistry, together with The Lancet, recently hosted an event at the United Nations to bring oral health into the conversation about universal health coverage.

Habib Benzian, DDS, MScDPH, PhD
Habib Benzian, DDS, MScDPH, PhD

New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry’s World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Quality Improvement and Evidence-Based Dentistry, together with The Lancet, recently hosted an event at the United Nations to bring oral health into the conversation about universal health coverage. The goal was to accelerate global advocacy for oral health, and promote knowledge sharing and translation of evidence into practice.

The discussion followed a two-part series in The Lancet that points to the “urgent need for radical reform” of oral health care to prioritize prevention and integrate dentistry into primary care. Coauthored by Habib Benzian, DDS, MScDPH, PhD, a research professor at NYU Colleges of Dentistry and Global Public Health and associate director of global health and policy for the NYU WHO Collaborating Center for Quality Improvement and Evidence-Based Dentistry, the series was based on papers from 10 countries. The articles examine why oral health has been neglected, and advocates for immediate action.

“Oral health care is isolated from mainstream health care. Thus, we need a fundamentally different approach that integrates the two,” notes Benzian. “A reformed oral health care system needs to incentivize prevention, embrace a wider team of health professionals (including primary care and midlevel providers), and respond to the diverse needs of local populations.”

From Decisions in Dentistry. January 2020;6(1):8.

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