Journal Articles

Mertz E, Spetz J, Moore J. Pediatric Workforce Issues. Dent Clin N Am. 2017;61(3):577-588.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cden.2017.02.004

According to the US Surgeon General, dental disease is among the most prevalent health conditions for children, and large disparities in oral health status and access to oral health services exist among children in the United States. In 2003, the National Call to Action to Promote Oral Health outlined the need to increase the diversity, capacity, and flexibility of the dental workforce in order to better meet children’s oral health needs and reduce disparities. Assessing progress toward the Call to Action, in 2009 the authors found only modest gains in workforce strategies focused on pediatric patients, and major challenges remaining. In 2009 the Institute of Medicine held a workshop on the sufficiency of the oral health workforce for the coming decade, which outlined the status of the dental workforce, and highlighted for the first time the multitude of new workforce models being proposed and tried. A special issue of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry entirely focused on the contributions of workforce innovations to delivery system redesign followed, with one of the key messages being that workforce design should be tied directly to meeting the patient care needs, with special attention to reducing disparities in oral health care, and in oral health. As 2017 begins, progress has been documented in children’s use of care primarily because of improvements in coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This article updates and synthesizes the evidence on clinical pediatric workforce models and discusses future directions and implications for health policy.

Langelier M, Continelli T, Moore J, Baker B, Surdu S. Expanded Scopes of Practice for Dental Hygienists Associated With Improved Oral Health Outcomes for Adults. Health Affairs. 2016;35(12):2207-2215.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.0807

Dental hygienists are important members of the oral health care team, providing preventive and prophylactic services and oral health education. However, scope-of-practice parameters in some states limit their ability to provide needed services effectively. In 2001 we developed the Dental Hygiene Professional Practice Index, a numerical tool to measure the state-level professional practice environment for dental hygienists. We used the index to score state-level scopes of practice in all fifty states and the District of Columbia in 2001 and 2014. The mean composite score on the index increased from 43.5 in 2001 to 57.6 in 2014, on a 100-point scale. We also analyzed the association of each state’s composite score with an oral health outcome: tooth extractions among the adult population because of decay or disease. After we controlled for individual- and state-level factors, we found in multilevel modeling that more autonomous dental hygienist scope of practice had a positive and significant association with population oral health in both 2001 and 2014.

Mertz EA, Wides CD, Kottek AM, Calvo JM, Gates PE. Underrepresented Minority Dentists: Quantifying Their Numbers and Characterizing the Communities They Serve. Health Affairs. 2016;35(12):2190-2199.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1122

The underrepresentation of Blacks, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives among dentists raises concerns about the diversity of the dental workforce, disparities in access to dental care and in oral health status, and social justice. We quantified the shortage of underrepresented minority dentists and examined these dentists’ practice patterns in relation to the characteristics of the communities they serve. The underrepresented minority dentist workforce is disproportionately smaller than, and unevenly distributed in relation to, minority populations in the United States. Members of minority groups represent larger shares of these dentists’ patient panels than of the populations in the communities where the dentists are located. Compared to counties with no underrepresented minority dentists, counties with one or more such dentists are more racially diverse and affluent but also have greater economic and social inequality. Current policy approaches to improve the diversity of the dental workforce are a critical first step, but more must be done to improve equity in dental health.

Moore J, Continelli T. Racial/Ethnic Pay Disparities among Registered Nurses (RNs) in US Hospitals: An Econometric Regression Decomposition. Health Services Research. 2016;51(2):511-529.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.12337

 There is growing recognition of the importance of health workforce diversity in improving cultural competence in health care and reducing health disparities. Registered nursing, like many other health professions, is not a racially and ethnically diverse as the country’s population. Cross-sectional data were analyzed using multivariate regression and regression decomposition to detect the presence of racial and ethnic pay disparities between minority and white hospital RNs using a national sample.

Langelier MH, Glicken AD, Surdu S. Adoption of Oral Health Curriculum by Physician Assistant Education Programs in 2014. J Physician Assist Educ. 2015;26(2):60-69.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JPA.0000000000000024

This study was undertaken to ascertain the number of PA programs teaching oral health topics and to evaluate the content of instruction and implementation strategies. A previous study in 2008 found that PA education program directors generally understood the importance of teaching about the linkage of oral health with systemic health; yet, few programs had actually integrated oral health instruction into the PA curriculum. The purpose of the study was to describe inclusion of didactic and clinical instruction in oral health in physician assistant (PA) education programs in 2014.

Boulton ML, Beck AJ, Coronado F, et al. Public health workforce taxonomy. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2014; 47(5):S314-S323. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.07.015

Thoroughly characterizing and continuously monitoring the public health workforce is necessary for ensuring capacity to deliver public health services. A prerequisite for this is to develop a standardized methodology for classifying public health workers, permitting valid comparisons across agencies and over time, which does not exist for the public health workforce. An expert working group, all of whom are authors on this paper, was convened during 2012–2014 to develop a public health workforce taxonomy.

Abramson EL, McGinnis S, Moore J, Kaushal R. A statewide assessment of electronic health record adoption and health information exchange among nursing homes. Health Services Research. 2014;49(1pt2): 361-372. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.12137

A cross-sectional study was designed to assess level of EHR implementation, automation of key functionalities, participation in HIE, and barriers to adoption in New York State nursing homes.

Dower C, Moore J, Langelier M. It is time to restructure health professions scope-of-practice regulations to remove barriers to care. Health Affairs. 2013;32(11):1971-1976. http://10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0537b

Regulation and licensure of health professionals—nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and others—currently falls to the states. State laws and regulations define legal scopes of practice for these practitioners. Concern is growing that this system cannot support workforce innovations needed for an evolving health care system or for successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This article highlights reforms that are needed to strengthen health professions regulation, including aligning scopes of practice with professional competence for each profession in all states; assuring the regulatory flexibility needed to recognize emerging and overlapping roles for health professionals; increasing the input of consumers; basing decisions on the best available evidence and allowing demonstration programs; and establishing a national clearinghouse for scope-of-practice information.

Orkin FK, Forte GJ, McGinnis SL, Peterson MD, Garfield JM, Katz JD, et al. In Reply. Anesthesiology. 118(6):1484-1485, June 2013.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0b013e318291d93b

The authors are gratified that Drs. Steinbrook and Weinstein have read their article in such a depth that they question as “most likely incorrect” the estimate for the mean retirement age (57.4 yr) among anesthesiologists retiring before 1985. Although Steinbrook and Weinstein’s conclusion appears valid—because no one older than 58 in 1985 would have been included in a 2006 survey of anesthesiologists aged 50–79 yr—the authors standby their estimate. A more detailed report, which the authors note is available at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Web site, can provide further documentation supporting the suspect estimate’s validity.

Dall TM, Forte GJ, Storm MV, Gallo P, Langelier MH, Koory RM, and Gillula JW. Executive Summary of the 2013 US Veterinary Workforce Study. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 242(11):1507-1514, June 2013.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2460/javma.242.11.1507

The 2013 US Veterinary Workforce Study was commissioned by the American Veterinary Medical Association to estimate the current and future supply of and demand for veterinarians and veterinary services; results are expected to help inform strategies that will ensure the economic viability of veterinary medicine as the profession works to attract and retain highly qualified professionals.