America’s tribal communities have long suffered from an abundance of oral disease problems and a shortage of dentists.
Residents of Alaskan tribal communities regularly served by dental therapists are receiving more preventive care and experiencing fewer tooth extractions than people living in communities without these dental workers, a peer-reviewed study has concluded.
Researchers for the study, published online by the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, analyzed 10 years’ worth of Medicaid and electronic health records data for patients served by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, part of a tribal health system that provides care to thousands of Alaska Natives. Continue reading
Donald Warne, M.D., M.P.H., comes from generations of traditional healers on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
He became a primary care physician – and grew frustrated that so much of what he was treating could have been prevented.
Racial disparities, social determinants and perverse decisions – paying to build a ramp at an amputee’s home, for instance, but not paying for the good health that would have prevented diabetes in the first place – are not unique to Indian country, he said at the opening session of Health Journalism 2018 in Phoenix. Continue reading
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week voted 3-2 along party lines to scale back Lifeline, a program that helps about 12.5 million low-income people pay for Internet or phone access.
Lifeline was created in 1985 to help low-income and many rural households to access communication services such as telephone and eventually mobile service. Under the Obama Administration, the FCC in 2016 expanded Lifeline to include broadband access. Eligible households receive a $9.25 monthly subsidy to defray the cost of phone or Internet service. Continue reading
With dental care in short supply and oral disease rates high on tribal lands, Native American leader Brian Cladoosby recently announced that his Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Washington state will begin employing midlevel dental providers to offer preventive and restorative services to the tribe.
The Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) model that the tribe has endorsed has been used in many parts of the world, including Alaskan tribal areas, as a way of expanding services in poor, isolated and minority communities. Continue reading