AAPHD statement about Alaska's DHAT program

Nov. 22, 2010

The American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD), an organization that represents national and international expertise in dental public health service delivery and research, applauds the detailed evaluation of the Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) program in Alaska. The research, conducted by RTllnternational with support from the Kellogg Foundation, is an important step in determining the value of this service model.

The results ofthe evaluation, which included quantitative and qualitative methodologies, are encouraging and consistent with findings from other countries. AAPHD looks forward to the continuing evaluation of this program and urges Congress and others to support funding for further studies of the DHAT program and demonstration projects of other alternative oral health care providers using the scientifically valid evaluation methods employed by RTI International.

The American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) is the nation's largest organization dedicated to the vision of optimal oral health for all. Its members are dentists, dental hygienists, and other professionals committed to improving the oral health of the public. Founded in 1937, the AAPHD provides a focus for meeting the challenge to improve oral health. Public health dentistry is one of the nine Dental Specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

Public Health Dentists are integral to monitoring the oral health of communities; investigating public health problems; conducting epidemiologic and health services research; establishing and evaluating community based prevention programs; developing policies to enhance and protect the public's oral health; educating and
providing oral health information; mobilizing community partnerships; and assuring the access of all Americans to appropriate prevention and treatment services.