Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board Announces Project to Train and Employ Dental Health Aide Therapists in Oregon

The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board is excited to announce that they have received a Notice of Intent to Approve a pilot project to train and employ Dental Health Aide Therapists to expand dental services for Oregon Tribes. If approved, this will be the first project approved by the Oregon Health Authority’s Dental Health Pilot Project Program. The program was established by the state legislature in 2011 to encourage the development of innovative practices in oral health care delivery systems with a focus on providing care to populations that evidence-based studies have shown have the highest disease rates and the least access to dental care.

Partnering with the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and the Coquille Indian Tribe as initial sites, this project will increase access to high-quality, culturally competent care by expanding dental teams to include Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs). Similar to nurse practitioners and physician assistants, DHATs are highly trained mid-level dental providers who expand the capacity of dentists by delivering a number of routine and preventive dental services, including fillings and simple extractions. DHATs were first certified to practice in Alaska more than 10 years ago by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the program has expanded care to more than 45,000 Alaska Natives in need of preventive and restorative care. If you would like to submit a comment in support of the Dental Health Aide Pilot Project, you can do so using the information below. Comments are due by January 22, 2016

To submit public comment on the proposed application please send them by mail, fax or email to:

  • Sarah Kowalski, RDH
, Dental Pilot Project Coordinator Oral Health Program

  • 800 NE Oregon Street, Suite 825 Portland, Oregon 97232-2186
  • Fax: 971-673-0231
  • Email:

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