Joint Statement of Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health and Mary Wakefield, PhD., RN, Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration on the IOM report “Advancing Oral Health in America”

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Friday, April 08, 2011

Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released their report “Advancing Oral Health in America,” which emphasizes the inextricable link between a person’s oral health and overall health.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asked the IOM to conduct this study on the state of oral health care in the U.S. We thank the IOM for their insight, expertise and partnership on this important topic.  

Millions of Americans lack access to oral health care services. This has to change. Secretary Sebelius and the leadership of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognize the seriousness of this issue and in 2010 instituted a cross agency Oral Health Initiative.

The IOM outlines several timely recommendations to HHS in this report: integrating oral health with primary care, promoting evidence-based preventive services, improving oral health literacy, and enhancing oral health care delivery, particularly in underserved areas.

Recognizing the work that needs to be done on this important public health issue, we will carefully study the IOM’s recommendations as we continue our Department's efforts to improve the health of the nation.

For more information on the IOM study please visit: HRSA Exit Disclaimer


The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  HRSA is the primary Federal agency responsible 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

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2017