National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health

The National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health ( 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 PCMH. 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 competencies into education and practice. The ultimate goal is to equip the health workforce for evolving integrated care models where oral health considered an essential component of whole person care.  

The following resources, supported by the NIIOH, provide effective tools that are driving change across primary care health education and practice.


  • Smiles for Life (SFL) (, a product of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, is a free online curriculum of 8 independent modules that extend across the lifespan. The modules can be completed online or downloaded to be used as education coursework; SFL provides many health professionals with up to 8 hours of free 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 8 health professions have endorsed SFL. A follow up study documents that Smiles for Life positively influence 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 across19 diverse primary care practices.
  • Additional resources from the NIIOH and its partners may be found at: and

The activities of the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health are made possible as a result of funding from The DentaQuest Foundation and the Arcora Foundation.

Executive Member Since: 
March 2014
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