The Ohio State University Nisonger Center Creates Dental Certificate Training Program for Community Providers

April 13, 2023

 Stephen Beetstra, DDS performing checkup on patient
Stephen Beetstra, DDS performing checkup on patient

Dental care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) is a challenge and a national issue.  In 2021, the American Dental Association recognized this issue and approved Resolution 49 which recommended the expansion of training programs of dentists, hygienists, dental and dental hygiene students to meet the needs of this severely underserved population.

To address this issue, The Ohio State University Nisonger Center partnered with the Delta Dental Foundation of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina (Delta Dental) to create a specialized certificate training program that aims to improve access to oral health care for individuals with ID/DD. This training uses a psychologically and behaviorally-based ID/DD curriculum and uses an interdisciplinary faculty from both the Nisonger Center and other leading national experts to teach oral health practitioners how to provide care to this underserved population in their communities.  As enrolled students, each training participant will be able to incorporate what they learned in the classroom immediately in the clinic with hands-on patient care experiences in the newly renovated dental clinic at the Ohio State Nisonger Center.

As the only dental clinic in Ohio whose focus is providing dental care to patients with ID/DD, we are in a unique position to create this program. We all know that reimbursement rates and provider and staff competency are often cited as the major barriers for care. Our hope is by training behavior and practice management techniques to oral health providers, we can partially alleviate one of the barriers.  We hope to give our trainees the tools to manage the majority of patients who have been diagnosed with an ID/DD in their home communities.”  - Stephen Beetstra, DDS, MHSA, Dental Program Director, Ohio State Nisonger Center

This 3-hour certificate program was approved by The Ohio State University Office of Academic Affairs in February 2023 and students will spend three or four days in classes and clinic in the Ohio State Nisonger Center starting the Summer/Fall of 2023. If you have any questions, please contact Stephen Beetstra, DDS, MHSA at [email protected].