National Academy of Sciences Study Will Recommend Improvements to U.S. System of Oral Health Care

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Thursday, October 08, 2009

HRSA recently awarded the National Academy of Sciences contracts worth $2.4 million to conduct a wide-ranging study of oral health care in the United States and suggest ways it could be improved.

“Access to oral health services is a problem across America and for all segments of the population,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “This study will help guide federal investments in service delivery models that expand access to oral health care and improve its quality.”

Working with the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Board on Children, Youth and Families and the Board on Health Care Services will establish two 15-member committees of experts in oral health and other health-related services to:

  • examine the oral health system of care in the U.S. as it currently exists;
  • explore its strengths, weaknesses and future challenges;
  • describe a desired vision for the oral health care system; and
  • recommend strategies to achieve that vision.

Additionally, the IOM will:

  • explore ways to increase public awareness of the relationship of good oral health to good overall health;
  • look at ways to improve the delivery of oral health care to underserved groups and to the safety-net providers who serve them; and
  • assess the oral health literacy of providers and the public and recommend messages to promote the prevention of oral health disease to all ages.

The IOM’s final report will review elements of a national oral health initiative, propose ways the HHS Secretary, HRSA Administrator, and other HHS agencies can implement such an initiative, and recommend a strategy to improve the public’s awareness of existing HHS oral health activities and the services available.


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit

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Date Last Reviewed:  March 2017