Primary care physicians have a blind spot when it comes to the teeth and gums. A new center at Harvard aims to change that.
“CIPCOH serves as a national resource for the consolidation and promotion of evidence for oral health integration in primary care training. Our national impact is manifest through our broad conceptualization of primary care and our multi-institutional partners including our "Community of Practice" stakeholders.”
— Dr. Christine Riedy

The Center for Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health (CIPCOH) aims to advance the integration of oral health in primary care training by conducting systems-level research of primary care training programs, developing a common framework for evaluation, and identifying and disseminating best practices that will be infused into primary care programs on a national level.

In its first year, CIPCOH conducted an environmental scan of current integration efforts spanning competencies to curricula. Three studies were completed: a systematic review and assessment of oral health integration curriculum; a review of programs across the country through 14 national surveys of medical professions—from obstetrics to family medicine to nurse practitioners to physician assistants; and a scoping review of the competencies used in oral health integration curriculum. The team learned of amazing programs that are already delivering vibrant interprofessional oral health education.

In year two, CIPCOH will conduct qualitative interviews of "champion" programs across the same breadth of medical fields to identify best practice curricula with the aim of sharing all of the above through publications, presentations and social media

“CIPCOH promises to act as a catalyst for change as we interact with the health care community, policy makers, and funders”, adds Dr. Hugh Silk.

CIPCOH’s goal, through our research, collaboration with our Community of Practice partners, and our dissemination efforts, is to enhance integrated training programs for primary care providers so they can better deliver high quality, cost-effective, patient-centered care.
Learn more

Integration in Action Blog

The Separation of Medicine and Dentistry

By Dr. Lisa Simon

"My teeth are killing me. I haven’t been able to sleep or eat in days. Isn’t there anything you can do?
As a safety net dentist, I’m sadly accustomed to my patients telling me that they are in pain. Even in Massachusetts, where most patients are insured and Medicaid provides dental coverage, the vast majority of my patients must wait unconscionably long to finally get a dental appointment, and often have not had reliable access to dental care.
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Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Oral Health Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary

By Annika Bannon, BS and Hugh Silk, MD MPH, UMass Medical School
The Massachusetts Medical Society established the Committee on Oral Health in 2013 to promote collaboration between the fields of medicine and dentistry and improve the oral health care patients receive when accessing medical services.
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Leadership Forum to kick off with
keynote by Dr. Donald M. Berwick

September 27-28, 2018, Boston, MA

This two-day event includes speakers and panel discussions about quality, value and innovations in integrated health care. Learn More

In the News

Dean Donoff: A Dental School Fixture Across Decades

February 23, 2018  ~ The Harvard Crimson
The dean’s commitment to HSDM began as a student at the School and extends through his role as chief of service for oral and maxillofacial surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital; his influence in expanding the School's profile and breaking down barriers between oral health and overall health; and his dedication to students as a teacher and mentor.
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When covering the opioid epidemic, don’t forget the dental angle

February 22, 2018  ~
President Donald Trump’s decision to declare opioid addiction a national emergency could be at least a step toward addressing the complex crisis blamed for claiming more than 33,000 lives in 2015.
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In Hospitals, Pneumonia Is a Lethal Enemy

February 17, 2018  ~ Wall Street Journal
Pneumonia is the No. 1 hospital-acquired infection in America and hospitals aren’t doing enough to fight it. The best weapon: a toothbrush.
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Diabetes: Look after your teeth to look after your blood glucose

February 1, 2018  ~ Medical News Today
A new study highlights the importance of oral hygiene for people with type 2 diabetes, after finding that those with the condition may have better blood glucose levels if they look after their teeth.
Read More

Recent Publications

The impact of the affordable care act's Medicaid expansion on dental care use through 2016.
Oral Health and Medicine Integration: Overcoming Historical Artifact to Relieve Suffering.
Like Pulling Teeth: Expanding the Oral Health Workforce by Training Physicians in Dental Extractions.
The HSDM Initiative to Integrate Oral Health and Medicine convenes academics, students, and corporate leaders in the health care community to develop exciting and innovative ideas around the integration of oral health and primary care — a core academic mission of Harvard School of Dental Medicine. We would like to thank the members of the Initiative for their generous support and continued collaboration in this important work.
Colgate Palmolive Company
Henry Schein, Inc.
Kaiser Permanente
Life and Specialty Ventures, LLC
Pacific Dental Services
Philips Oral Healthcare
The Ritrievi Group, LLC
United Concordia Companies
Harvard Medical School
Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Harvard School of Public Health
Visit Initiative website

Contact us:
The Initiative to Integrate Oral Health & Medicine
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Copyright © 2017 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

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