About Us

The National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH) is a foundation-funded, multi-year effort to ensure that all patients have access to oral health services and referrals in the context of their primary care. As a systems change initiative, NIIOH provides backbone support to a consortium of funders, health professionals and national organizations focused on integrating oral health into primary care education and practice. NIIOH leverages a collective impact approach to engage and align oral health partners across the healthcare system to work together to create change.

NIIOH strategic activities are organized using three core strategies to:

  • Cultivate oral health champions,
  • Facilitate interprofessional learning and agreement, and
  • Develop tools and resources that bridge understanding, knowledge and skills to enable the primary care workforce to acquire core oral health clinical competencies

Primary care clinicians including physicians, PAs, nurses, dental professionals, pharmacists, social workers, and community health workers are now working to embed oral health and interprofessional practice competencies across their profession. The ultimate goal is to equip the health workforce with the knowledge and skills required by new integrated care models where oral health is considered an essential component of whole person care.  

The following resources, supported by the NIIOH, provide effective tools and resources to drive change across primary care education and practice.

  • Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum, a product of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, is a free online curriculum of 11 independent modules that extend across the lifespan. The modules can be completed online or downloaded to be used as education coursework; Smiles for Life provides many health professionals with up to eight hours of free continuing education credit (CE). These modules may also be used in practice settings to educate all primary care staff in a common oral health curriculum, including specific instruction on team-based, interprofessional care. Twenty professional organizations and eight health professions endorse Smiles for Life. Recent research documents that Smiles for Life positively influences the practice of oral health care across professions.
  • The Oral Health Delivery Framework and the Oral Health Integration Implementation Guide by Qualis Health, is part of the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative. Commissioned by the NIIOH, the framework and free guide makes the case for oral health integration and includes specific tools and resources found to be useful during pilot testing across nineteen diverse primary care practices.