IHS Principal Deputy Director Robert G. McSwain says these awards will improve dental health and dental care for thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Fed Pract. 2015 December;32(12):e7
American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have the highest rates of tooth decay of all minorities in the U.S. To help change that, IHS launched the IHS Dental Preventive and Clinical Support Centers in 2000. The centers are addressing some of the most serious and long-standing challenges to high-quality dental care in AI/AN communities, says IHS. This year for instance, 29% of patients aged 1 to 15 years for which IHS had data received 1 or more topical fluoride applications, exceeding the goal of at least 26.4%.
The IHS is awarding grants of up to $10 million over 5 years to 5 tribal organizations and 3 IHS federal government programs. The money will go to coordinating regional resources, training dentists and other dental health personnel, and advising health programs in improving dental health care for AI/ANs.
“These new awards improve dental care and dental health for tens of thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said IHS Principal Deputy Director Robert G. McSwain. “They respond to the needs of patients as well as the needs of dental health programs and personnel, so that programs operate most effectively and dental health personnel have the training and resources they need to provide excellent care, even in the most rural and remote settings.”