Category Archives: What’s New

Recently signed legislation could help reduce barriers to oral health

There have been several developments recently to improve Americans’ access to oral health care.

Efforts to improve Americans’ access to oral health care, particularly in underserved rural and urban areas, have been in the news recently, with a flurry of developments at the federal level in the final months of 2018.

On Dec. 3, the White House released a report on health reform that includes a call for states to consider authorizing dental therapy and to remove restrictive supervision requirements on dental hygiene. Both steps could help more people get access to routine dental care.

And on Dec. 11, President Donald Trump signed the Action for Dental Health Act of 2018, which Congress passed in November. This law enables more organizations to qualify for federal grants to develop oral health prevention initiatives and programs. It also expands how grants can be used to pay for activities to address access to oral health care.

On Nov. 26, Surgeon General Jerome Adams launched the first planning meeting for a new report on oral health to be released in 2020. That document will update a landmark 2000 analysis that called national attention to the disproportionate disease burden and care access barriers faced by low-income and certain racial and ethnic minority groups.

“A lot has changed in 20 years,” Adams told a packed room of oral health stakeholders. He explained that the new work, spearheaded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, would update and document inequities in disease burden and care access, address the adequacy of the provider workforce “head on,” and probe the role of dentistry in the opioid crisis.

“Workforce issues are touchy for some,” Adams said. “Some issues that have been taboo … we must have the courage to address them.”

The new study by his office will explore topics such as oral health across a life span, possibilities for integration of medical and dental care, the effects of oral health on communities and the economy, and the impact of the opioid epidemic. Next steps in the planning process include a webinar Jan. 10 to update the public on the status of the report—and to request public input to help shape its content.

Meanwhile, in the report released this month, the White House issued a call for reforms to health care markets more generally to improve care quality and expand access while reducing costs. The report discusses steps to remove or revise “certain federal and state regulations and policies that inhibit choice and competition,” changes that could have a direct impact on access to dental care. Among the agencies that contributed to the analysis are the departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor, and the Federal Trade Commission.

The administration report refers to the need to expand the ranks of providers, particularly of dental care. “Healthcare occupations, such as dental therapy, can increase access and drive down costs for consumers, while still ensuring safe care,” the authors wrote. “States should be particularly wary of undue statutory and regulatory impediments to the development of such new occupations.”

The report calls for states to evaluate dental therapy as a way to help achieve these goals, particularly in underserved areas. It says states should consider removing certain supervision requirements on dental hygienists “that are not justified by legitimate health and safety concerns”—and that reduce access to care.

The recently signed Action for Dental Health Act (H.R. 2422/S. 3016) amends the Public Health Service Act to allow more organizations to qualify for grants through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—in conjunction with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)—that could be used for activities relating to oral health education and dental disease prevention. The law adds nonprofit community-based organizations, state or tribal health departments or oral health programs, dental education programs, and dental associations to the list of those eligible for the grants.

The measure also expands an HRSA program that awards grants to states to support initiatives focused on increasing access to oral health care services. Eligible activities now include efforts to reduce visits to emergency rooms for dental problems and to establish what are known as dental homes for vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and people living with disabilities. Dental homes are places where patients can have consistent relationships with dentists and receive comprehensive and continuous care.

The law represents an acknowledgment of the critical need to reassess our dental care delivery system to ensure that more Americans have greater access to needed care. Although this measure takes a step in the right direction, lawmakers should consider more comprehensive and long-term policy solutions that reduce the many barriers to care for children and adults across the country.

Jane Koppelman is a senior manager and Allison Corr is an officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ dental campaign.

Boston’s Women’s March, 2019

Despite the national news of major divisions in planning these actions, Boston event displayed strong unity. Tanisha Sullivan, NAACP and others set a positive tone about the importance of unity, black lives matter and the fight against both structural racism and anti semitism. Always great to hear our new Congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley. Despite the cold, turnout was upbeat and the signs were great.

Interesting Read: Dentists are getting busier

Below is an interesting read on the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute report about how more than a third of dentists experienced an increase in patient volume in 2017 compared to 2016.


Special Tisch College Bulletin – 2018 Midterms

Exclusive Analysis: Youth Turnout Rate Way Up in the 2018 Midterm Elections

An analysis of young people’s voter turnout by Tisch College’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) found that 31% of youth cast a ballot in this month’s midterm elections—a substantial increase over the 21% turnout rate in 2014, and the highest in at least 25 years.

Read more

Watch Out, 2020:
Young Voters are on the Rise

“This is a sea change in political engagement,” says our Dean Alan Solomont in this special feature from the Christian Science Monitor reported in part from the Tufts campus. The article cites our youth voting data, quotes our research and JumboVote leaders, and shares insights from Tufts student leaders.

Read more

CIRCLE Research Explores Various Aspects of Youth Participation in 2018

Tisch College’s CIRCLE team continues to share insightful research on youth voting. Read about young people’s historic support for Democratic House candidates, about the role youth of color played in Texas and Georgia, and about how social media shaped youth electoral engagement in 2018.

Explore Tisch College’s CIRCLE’s 2018 Election Center

Post-Election Commentary from
CIRCLE Senior Researcher

In a Facebook Live chat two days after the election, Tisch College’s CIRCLE Senior Researcher Rey Junco joined Tufts Republicans President George Behrakis to share some of our exclusive research, to discuss the election results, and to talk about what it all means for the future of American politics.

Watch the conversation

More Tisch College Election
Research in the News

Throughout this month, our youth voting data, analysis, and commentary have been featured in outlets like MSNBCThe ConversationNBC NewsThe Boston HeraldTeen Vogue, and many others. It also appeared in an Associated Press story reprinted by hundreds of publications, including The Washington Post and The New York Times.


Save The Date:
November 27 is Giving Tuesday!

We’re proud of our ongoing work to study and promote the civic and political participation of young people—in elections and beyond. As Giving Tuesday approaches, we hope you’ll consider supporting this and all of our work as we strive to create a new generation of leaders ready to strengthen our democracy.

Bookmark our Giving Tuesday page!


DAV 5K Participation was a Success!

On November 10th at Castle Island, students and faculty from TUSDM gathered to run the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) 5K!
Brent Mullen (D20) reflects: “The DAV 5K turned out to be a success! We endured some rainy and windy weather but we stuck together as a team and motivated each other to finish with smiles on our faces! And most importantly, our team’s participation benefited the Disabled American Veterans who play an important role in making sure service members are able to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.”

SNDA Volunteers with YES!

On Tuesday November 6th, SNDA members Tiara Felder, Jonathan Candido, Gabriel Thomas, Marsha Robinson, and Heather Smith did a career workshop for students in middle/high school at Youth Enrichment Services (YES), a nonprofit dedicated to serving low income Boston youth in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.

Heather Smith (D20) reflects: “We talked about what a career in dentistry involved, made dental impressions, and played dental jeopardy. It was great to get to know their aspirations and get them excited about dentistry as a career option!”

AADMD Highlights World Kindness Day

AADMD is highlighting World Kindness Day on this Tuesday, November 13. World Kindness Day was introduced in 1988 and meant to highlight good deeds in the community and focus on the power of positive power to bring us together. Dental school can be very challenging and overwhelming but AADMD wants to remind everyone to take a moment to appreciate peers, faculty and staff’s kindness towards you and also ask you to offer something kind to something else. Ask yourself the question, “What does kindness mean to you?” If you are interested in learning more about the holiday, check out this video by the World Kindness Movement to see what kindness means to different people all over the world.


Tisch College Research Informs Conversation on Youth Voting Ahead of Midterms 

A recent feature from Tufts Magazine highlights how research and scholarship from Tisch College’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), and Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), have been shaping youth voter engagement efforts across the country.

Read more

Exclusive CIRCLE Poll on Youth Engagement in the 2018 Elections
An exclusive pre-election poll of youth (ages 18-24) from our researchers found that 34% of young people say they’re “extremely likely” to vote tomorrow—an unusually high figure for a midterm cycle. Our research also finds that young people are three times more likely to protest than in 2016, and that 80% of them believe their generation has the power to create change.

Read more at CIRCLE’s 2018 Election Center

Bill McKibben: The Way to Save the Planet

As part of the Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series, we recently hosted renowned environmental leader Bill McKibben for a conversation about activism, global warming, and what we can all do to advance the fight for climate justice. His advice: to be less of an individual and more of a citizen, joining with others in movements that can affect large-scale policy change.

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Terry McAuliffe: Fighting for Principles

Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a recent guest of the Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series, spoke with the Tufts community about his career in politics, his accomplishments as governor of a politically diverse state, and the state of American politics. He also encouraged young people to serve, vote, and engage in democracy.

Read more

Tisch College Speakers Talk Guns, Trauma, and Healing at Recent Events

This month we were pleased to host other outstanding guest speakers for conversations on some of the most pressing issues in our communities. Reverend Liz Walker and Dr. John Rich discussed their approaches to addressing trauma in communities of color, while visiting instructor Steve Israel and alumna Sarah Ullman, spoke about efforts to combat gun violence.

Join us for Upcoming Events
We’re excited to welcome exceptional leaders to campus in the coming weeks. Join us on:
– November 15: Republican Strategist Ana Navarro
– November 27: Microfinance pioneer Vikram Akula
– November 28: Former Secretary of State John Kerry
– December 3: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey

Read more and RSVP



AAPD Volunteers with Room to Grow!

Pictured (from left to right): BACK ROW: Samatha Guan (D21), David Alpert (D21), Samatha Sauers (D20), Allie Penta (D21), and Lauren Lubowitz (D21)
FRONT ROW: Simran Kaur (D20), Kaitlyn O’Connell (D21) and Sophia Heitsmiller (D21)

On October 30, AAPD volunteered with Room To Grow. The organization serves families from just before their child’s birth through age 3. They provide high-quality material items (like clothes, books and toys), individualized parenting education, and specialized referrals to community resources to ensure a healthy and secure start to the child’s life. The AAPD team helped to sort through donated clothing, supplies and books.

Volunteer Sophie Heitsmiller (D21) reflects: “With a group of nine people, we were able to organize an entire room of donations within a few hours. It’s was rewarding to see how teamwork can help a non profit organization that will help mothers and children in need.”

Everyone had a great time and look forward to working with this amazing organization again in the future!

AADMD’s outreach to students with special healthcare needs

On November 2, two members of AADMD, Lauren Lubowitz (D21) and Pranali Vyas (D21), worked with Professor Dolan at the Joseph Lee School in Dorchester to help give oral health screenings to students with special healthcare needs. The Joesph Lee School features a specialized program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Professor Dolan, Lauren and Pranali saw 5 patients and provided oral hygiene instruction, fluoride varnish, extra oral and intra oral exams and made referrals to Tufts Dental for treatment!