A "health commons" approach to oral health for low-income populations in a rural state

Am J Public Health. 2008 Sep;98(9 Suppl):S89-90. doi: 10.2105/ajph.98.supplement_1.s89.

Abstract

Oral health needs are urgent in rural states. Creative, broad-based, and collaborative solutions can alleviate these needs. "Health commons" sites are enhanced, community-based, primary care safety net practices that include medical, behavioral, social, public, and oral health services. Successful intervention requires a comprehensive approach, including attention to enhancing dental service capacity, broadening the scope of the dental skills of locally available providers, expanding the pool of dental providers, creating new interdisciplinary teams in enhanced community-based sites, and developing more comprehensive oral health policy. By incorporating oral health services into the health commons primary care model, access for uninsured and underserved populations is increased. A coalition of motivated stakeholders includes community leaders, safety net providers, legislators, insurers, and medical, dental, and public health providers.