DANB and the DALE Foundation lead coalition to empower dental assistants

Coalition members

Members of the dental community join together to promote the dental assisting profession

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the DALE Foundation are proud to announce the formation and first meeting of a groundbreaking coalition, composed of a diverse group of clinicians, educators, and industry leaders from across the country.

The coalition is dedicated to finding innovative solutions that champion the essential role of dental assistants within the dental industry. These efforts contribute to expanding the pool of qualified dental assistants and assuring dental assisting is viewed as a respected professional career — both of which are overarching aims of the DANB and DALE Foundation strategic plan.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to collaborating with the dental community to ensure dental assistants have the knowledge, skills and support they need to best serve the dental team and provide quality patient care,” said DANB and DALE Foundation CEO Laura Skarnulis. “The members of this coalition will be instrumental in elevating dental assistants and the vital work they do.”

Dental assistants play a crucial role in oral healthcare, providing invaluable support to dentists, dental hygienists, and patients. Despite their pivotal contributions and being the largest profession in oral healthcare, dental assistants are often overlooked, which has played a role in workforce shortages. The coalition’s mission is to rectify this by fostering a greater understanding of the integral role that dental assistants play in oral healthcare and to amplify the opportunities to recognize and honor the value they bring.

Over the next year, the coalition will focus on enhancing the perception of dental assistants, emphasizing their value within the dental team, and addressing workplace culture issues for these vital professionals, so that dental assisting is viewed as a valuable and viable professional career. The inaugural meeting of the coalition took place on Nov. 1, 2023.

“This marks the beginning of an exciting journey toward improving the status and recognition of dental assistants,” said Jen Hawley Price, Chief Partnership and Engagement Officer at DANB and the DALE Foundation. “The coalition members are a dynamic and engaged group, and our first meeting set the stage for the meaningful work ahead. I look forward to working with this incredible group and together defining the actions that we can take within our own organizations and collaboratively across the oral healthcare field to make a lasting impact.”

The coalition is made up of dental leaders from notable organizations, including the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, the American Dental Assistants Association, the American Dental Association, the American Institute of Dental Public Health, Aspen Dental, the Aspen Group, the Association of Dental Support Organizations, the Community College of Rhode Island, D4C Dental Brands, Delta Dental, DentalPost, Dentsply Sirona, the Indian Health Service, Kids Dental Brands, MyOrthos, the National Network of Oral Health Access, the North Dakota Dental Foundation, Pacific Dental Services, Smile Brands, Toothman Orthodontics, U.S. Oral Surgery Management, and VA Dentistry.

The next coalition meeting is scheduled for February 2024, where members will continue to define plans and develop innovative ways to elevate the role of dental assistants, enhance their professional identity, and create a more inclusive and supportive work environment.