Stony Brook University’s (SBU) School of Dental Medicine Associate Professor Rafael Arcesio Delgado-Ruiz headed to Washington, DC, this month to advocate for robust federal funding for the Title VII Oral Health Training Programs within the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) and for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). A part of the American Dental Education Association Leadership Institute’s advocacy Hill day, Delgado-Ruiz joined colleagues from around the country to discuss funding for these two important programs with their federal representatives and congressional staff.
During a meeting with staff of Rep. Nick LaLota, Delgado-Ruiz urged the congressman to work with colleagues to support the Senate’s FY24 proposed funding level of not less than $42,673,000 for HRSA’s Title VII Oral Health Training Programs to improve critical access to quality dental care. Additionally, Delgado-Ruiz requested that the Congressman support the Senate’s proposed FY24 funding level of $520,163,000 for NIDCR.
“If the Title VII Oral Health Training Programs are not funded robustly, a significant unmet need will continue to exist for oral health care in America, especially among vulnerable and underserved populations,” said Delgado-Ruiz. “Without adequate funding for NIDCR, the US will struggle to develop new groundbreaking pain therapies and advance this invaluable science for patients.” Delgado-Ruiz also mentioned how SBU’s School of Dental Medicine works to support the local community through several critical outreach efforts including a mobile dental clinic.
Thanks to HRSA’s Oral Health Training Program, in Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022 alone, more than 7,000 pre-doctoral students, including hygiene students, were educated in oral health care and over 700 post-doctoral residents received advanced training in pediatric, general and public health dentistry. HRSA estimates that 73 million Americans live in dental shortage areas, and our nation needs more than 12,000 additional practitioners to close the gap. Meanwhile, NIDCR is the only federal entity with a research mission to eradicate oral diseases, conduct craniofacial research, and improve the oral health and well-being of the nation.