An FQHC Research Network in Oral Health: enhancing the workforce and reducing disparities

Public Health Rep. Sep-Oct 2007;122(5):592-601. doi: 10.1177/003335490712200506.


Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) contribute greatly to reducing health disparities by providing care to underserved communities. Yet these safety-net clinics face chronic manpower shortages and turnover. Practice-Based Research Networks aid in translating medical science from bench to clinical practice. These networks have been used to understand and improve health-care delivery and reduce disparities. Initiatives to strengthen lagging translational research in dentistry have begun, but there is no FQHC research network that addresses oral health. This article reviews the potential for, and outlines a model of, an Oral Health FQHC Research Network. It characterizes the needs for an FQHC research network, describes a successful FQHC research-oriented program, and outlines an Oral Health FQHC Research Network conceptual model. It argues that strengthening FQHCs through involvement of their dental staff in clinical research may enhance their jobs, draw staff closer to the community, and strengthen their ability to reduce health disparities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Centers*
  • Financing, Government
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Workforce*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Medically Uninsured
  • Oral Health*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Research Design
  • Washington