2017 Initiative Momentum and Achievements - Annual Report

NIIOH activities over the past year extend across education, policy, research and practice. These efforts contribute and catalyze progress towards the integration of oral health into primary care and other healthcare settings as well as support interprofessional education and professional development in oral health.


NIIOH uses a collective impact approach to engage and align interprofessional partners to work in mutually supportive ways to catalyze oral health integration across primary care education and practice.

NIIOH core strategic activities:

  • Cultivate oral health leaders and champions
  • Facilitate interprofessional learning and agreement
  • Create and support tools and resources that bridge interprofessional understanding, knowledge and skills enabling the primary care workforce to acquire core oral health clinical competencies 

New NIIOH partner activities this year include medical assistants, community and other front-line health workers, pharmacy and social work. As the movement progresses, these activities facilitate further advances by demonstrating successful models, cultivating new oral health champions and collaborations, facilitating interprofessional learning/agreement and creating tools for education and practice.

Key Achievements (Full Report available for download below):

73 2017 NIIOH Symposium on Oral Health and Primary Care

Over a dozen health professions were represented at the 2017 NIIOH Symposium on Oral Health and Primary Care. Existing oral health champions and health profession organization leaders from medicine, PA, nursing and dental professions were joined by new network partners from community health, pharmacy, and social work. The convening provided opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, strengthen connections, and learn about evolving integrated care delivery models. Small group discussions generated new benchmarks and strategies that define our work over the next year. 

Tools and Resources Supported by NIIOH

Oral Health Implementation Guide and Toolkit

74 Qualis Health released the Oral Health Implementation Guide and Toolkit presenting the results of field testing and providing step-by-step guidance on oral health integration into primary care. The guide includes leadership and team readiness, staffing models, workflow optimization, patient screening protocols, treatment referrals, health information technology (IT), financial sustainability, clinical change processes, and more.



Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum

In 2017, the NIIOH continued its support for Smiles for Life (SFL), a product of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. www.smilesforlifeoralhealth.org.  Over 20 organizations now endorse SFL including new endorsements from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and Canadian Pediatric Society. Free CE credit is now offered for physicians, PAs, nurses, dental professionals, midwives, medical assistants, and pharmacists.

A recent study supports that SFL is positively influencing oral health practice across health professions, especially in areas of caries risk assessment and fluoride varnish application. SFL improves the frequency and quality with which direct care providers and educators participate in oral health activities and facilitates oral health integration in primary care.


Two new SFL resources modules are designed to support front line health workers (FLHWs) and global oral health. The US Department of Health and Human Services Indian Health Service, Division of Oral Health will be 

recommending the FLHW modules for oral health training for Community Health Representatives (CHRs).

Discrete Site visits

Smiles for Life (SFL) utilization has experienced year-over-year growth with 1,268,932 discrete site visits     (Exhibit 1). 

NIIOH Participation in Partner activities: Catalyzing Research, Policy, and Education

The NIIOH continues to serve in an advisory capacity to many state and national organizations. The NIIOH also facilitates partnerships and collaborations, provides consultation to those seeking information on the integration of oral health into health profession education and practice including health profession organizations, educational institutions, oral health coalitions, care groups, community health centers, professional institutes, community health organizations and others. These stakeholders and others often seek NIIOH assistance in identifying opportunities and strategies for oral health integration within their scope of work.  


niioh_annual_report_final_web.pdf1.39 MB