The activities proposed in The Rhode Island (RI) Oral Health Workforce Expansion Initiative, 2022-2026 are complementary, synergistic, innovative, and built upon past partnership successes. Proposed programs will assist in increasing oral healthcare access to underserved populations, particularly in Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (Dental HPSAs), by creating a statewide strategic plan, building a dental assistant pipeline pilot, developing dental student externships at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and hosting three unique topic area collaborative learning experiences for dentists in RI. Innovative Programs: I. Program #1: RI Dental Workforce Strategic Plan (NOFO Activity #2) Objective Examples: 1. Create a strategic plan by August 2023; 2. Increase the number of dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants by 5% over baseline by 2026. II. Program #2: Dental Assistant Pipeline Pilot (NOFO Activity #2) Objective Example: Increase the dental assisting workforce by 28 dental assistants by 2026 (8 from the first class, 10 from the second, and 10 from the third). III. Program #3: Dental Student Externships with FQHCs (NOFO Activity #2) Objective Example: By Year 3 have one new FQHC with student rotations, and by year 4 have a total of two health centers with total 8 students on rotation per year. IV. Program #4: Training on Critical Topics for DHPSAs with Collaborative Learning (NOFO Activity #7) Objective Example: Sixty providers will complete the didactic continuing education webinars either live or on-demand, with at least 10 dental providers joining the full course of collaborative learning sessions in each of the three years. The RI Oral Health Program (RI OHP) will be augmented to maintain and enhance current and future workforce initiatives through the development and implementation of project objectives and activities, and ongoing oral health surveillance and evaluation to monitor health outcomes. Through int
ernal and external partnerships, expanding the scope of work for existing RI OHP staff, and hiring new RI OHP consultants, the activities attached to each new program above will be accomplished over the four years of this grant cycle. The small geographic size of RI allows for these programs to reach the entire state, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and serves as an ideal test site for new and innovative programs nationwide.