The purpose of this proposal is to strengthen and enhance Minnesota's geriatric oral health workforce infrastructure by developing innovative programs that adapt and implement the Age-Friendly Health System's (AFHS) 4M Framework in oral health settings. The proposed approaches are informed by national and state guidelines. Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) realizes the need for adequate integrated geriatric care within the underserved populations in rural Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (Dental HPSAs) is severe. Through this proposal, MDH explores a broad framework for oral health system reform using innovative workforce models to address the national priority of developing healthcare workforce that maximizes patient and family engagement and combines geriatrics oral health and primary care, specifically in rural Dental HPSAs. The lack of providers in these areas particularly with limited experience in geriatric oral health exacerbate oral health access issues for older adults. Through this application, MDH proposes innovative programs that will: (1) create systems for dental practices to provide appropriate care to the geriatric population using the AFHS Framework; (2) train clinically competent and skilled fellows in rural dentistry with a focus on geriatric oral health (3) identify and pilot innovative educational, service delivery and data sharing models for geriatric population using AFHS framework (4) identify and establish channels for stakeholder engagement, consistent communications, and ongoing dissemination of workforce evaluation findings and (5) resume, enhance and upgrade dental workforce data collection, analysis, and dissemination. MDH builds on the existing oral health infrastructure and collaboration with internal and external partners to plan, implement, and evaluate the proposed innovative programs. The only regional dental school and leading geriatric partners, along with dental professionals fr
om rural Dental HPSAs and other key stakeholders will support MDH in implementation and sustainability of innovative workforce programs beyond the funding cycle. Evaluation is nucleus of this innovative proposal as it will demonstrate success in achieving intended outcomes, drive continuous program improvement, determine scalability, assess effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed project activities, establish evidence-based interventions, and inform project management decisions and future project development. The project will use process and outcome evaluation processes and will collect both – qualitative and quantitative data to create credibility for the evaluation findings. Stakeholder engagement will be a key to evaluate success which will be achieved through establishing and engaging evaluation advisory group. Evaluation and project related performance measures will be reported annually to HRSA using Electronic Health Book (EHB). The evaluation findings will be disseminated using multiple platforms such as national and local presentations, web content, publications, and discussions.