Health Equity Needs Teeth

Published 01/05/2022

People who are poor or members of communities of color face inequitable oral disease burden. And continued separation of dental care from medical care exacerbates these inequities, creating difficult choices involving pain, payment options, and inadequate care in emergency departments.  

A new peer-reviewed article in the AMA Journal of Ethics, part of an issue about inequity along the medical/dental divide, highlights how value-based approaches to health care can improve outcomes for everyone.  

“Clinicians, payers, communities, policymakers, employers, and other decision makers must collectively decide to promote justice,” write the authors. “An integrated system of medicine and oral health care must bring attention to disparities and build policy, practice, and research solutions to support equity.” 

The authors share a vision for a reimagined, more equitable health care system that: 

  • integrates medical and dental services 
  • focuses on prevention rather than disease management 
  • reimburses providers based on quality of care and patient outcomes 
  • invests in training a more diverse health care workforce 

Read the full article.

Listen to the AMA Ethics Talk podcast interview with co-author Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president and CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health.

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