About Us

The National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH) has evolved out of the work done by participants who attended one of the annual Symposia on Oral Health and Primary Care (2008 - 2017).  Here interprofessional dialogue is facilitated among primary care clinicians, dentists and funders.  Relationships are developed and generative thinking is done about strategies, programs and products that will enable NIIOH to achieve its desired impact.  The Smiles for Life curriculum, an interprfessional national curriculum, developed by and for primary care clinicians with endorsements from multiple medical professional organizations is an example of the result of NIIOH activities. 

The theory of change underpinning the activities of the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health is that if primary care clinicians learn about how to protect and promote oral health and prevent dental disease as part of their medical education and training experience, they would, as practitioners, be in a position to: counsel patients about their role in protecting their oral health, spot the early signs of disease, reverse and/or arrest the disease process and refer patients needing dental treatment to a dentist.  To this end, The National Interprofessional Initiative invests in:

  • development of common oral health curriculum and maintenance of a central website: www.smilesforlifeoralhealth.org
  • development of a network of oral health champions who work to integrate oral health into professional education programs of their professions and their educational institutions
  • efforts to broaden the systems that impact health professional education and practice to incorporate oral health including:
    • academic program accreditation
    • professional licensing
    • provider reimbursement
    • continuing education
  • undertakings that use oral health content as a vehicle for teaching interprofessional competencies