Bulletin of Dental Education

DANB Hosts Forum to Address Dental Assistant Workforce

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On July 14, 2022, the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the DALE Foundation hosted a forum for leaders in dentistry, oral health and health care.

Held in Chicago, the Dental Assistant Stakeholder Forum on the Future Workforce was an invitation-only event, which brought together executives and strategists from more than 20 organizations to share their perspectives and identify ways to collectively work toward solutions to assure a robust, effective and adequately staffed dental assistant workforce. 

Summit Photo_Photo Credit Langdon Morris Consulting

Leaders in dentistry, oral health and health care attend the Dental Assistant Stakeholder Forum on the Future Workforce, hosted by the Dental Assisting National Board and the DALE Foundation, in Chicago, IL. Photo courtesy of Langdon Morris Consulting. 

“From my conversations with leaders of other dental organizations and from the data and trends we are seeing, we recognize that the dental workforce shortage remains a top priority,” said DANB and DALE Foundation CEO Laura Skarnulis. “Workforce development, particularly for dental assistants, is a critical issue—one that impacts not only dentists and their teams, but also the patients and public they serve.”

According to DANB’s 2020-2021 Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey, more than 40% of responding dental assistants said their practice needed to hire one or more new dental assistants, and almost 60% said that hiring has been more challenging than in previous years.

Similarly, the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute’s Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry report from June 13, 2022, noted that more than 39% of dentists were actively recruiting dental assistants, with 86% reporting it was extremely or very challenging to do so.

The Dental Assistant Stakeholder Forum on the Future Workforce explored these issues and more through dynamic and interactive sessions, which included reflections on the industry’s current state, along with structured activities to imagine new models and brainstorm initiatives to undertake individually and collectively.

“The organizational leaders who participated brought tremendous insights and valuable perspectives, and together, we identified many relevant imperatives and collaboration opportunities,” Ms. Skarnulis said. “It is essential to have a robust and well-trained dental assistant workforce now and in the future. To achieve this goal, we need to build on the existing foundation while also exploring new ways of working. I look forward to collaborating with a variety of partners in dentistry, oral healthcare, and beyond.”

About DANB and the DALE Foundation
DANB provides credentialing services to the dental community and is recognized by the American Dental Association as the national certifying board for dental assistants. DANB exams and certifications are recognized or required by 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, provides quality continuing education and conducts research to promote oral health. For more information, visit www.danb.org or www.dalefoundation.org.

Courtesy of DANB and the DALE Foundation

Published on August 10, 2022

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