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The Dental Public Health training program is an intensive 12-month program ideally suited to dentists with MPH or equivalent degrees who wish to pursuit leadership careers in public health. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Dentists who successfully complete the program are awarded a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Dental Public Health. Graduates are eligible, upon examination, to become Diplomates of the American Board of Dental Public Health.

What is Dental Public Health?

Dental Public Health (DPH) is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting health through organized community efforts.  Dental Public Health is also one of the recognized specialties of Dentistry in the United States.

Vision and Goals
The long term vision of the DPH training program at Columbia University is to reduce the impact of oral dental diseases locally, nationally and globally by “transforming” dentists into public health leaders who excel in identifying unmet dental needs, and in designing and evaluating programs to prevent, track and control oral diseases. The Program’s objective is to educate students to become proficient and critically thinking Dental Public Health specialists. The Program’s goals are i) to provide trainees with an in-depth knowledge of the principles of Dental Public Health, ii) to develop competencies and skills that will allow the postdoctoral students to analyze complex public health problems in the community and to evaluate, design and implement community-based interventions to address the problems, iii) to prepare DPH postdoctoral students for leadership positions in academia, community health, government, or public health agencies, and iv) to develop the postdoctoral students’ research skills and to introduce them to the requirements and principles of scientific writing.

Structure of the Program
Enrolled postdoctoral students will focus on the integration of evidence-based clinical dentistry with population sciences and public health, in an intense 12-month training program. Through core academic coursework, a field experience that involves community participation and research practice, the program’s educational objective is to develop the following  competencies: plan oral health programs for populations;  implement, manage and develop resources for such programs; select interventions and strategies for the prevention and control of oral diseases and promotion of oral health; incorporate ethical standards;  evaluate and monitor dental care delivery systems; design and understand the use of surveillance systems; communicate and collaborate with groups and individuals on oral health issues; advocate for, implement and evaluate public health policy legislation and regulations to protect and promote the public’s oral health; critique and summarize the scientific literature; and design and conduct clinical and population-based studies to answer oral and public health questions. Academic rigor, cultural competency in the educational process, mentorship, continuous evaluation, and strict adherence to CODA standards will ensure that the Program objectives are met.

Why study DPH at Columbia University?
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (CDM) presents an ideal environment for the practice of dental public health, a natural laboratory where ideas are conceptualized and pilot-tested. The College is located in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, which is geographically close to the Harlem community.  Both communities have a diverse underserved population. The College participates in various initiatives to support the local community overcome the burden of oral dental disease, and offers a multitude of community-oriented educational opportunities to trainees.
The College of Dental Medicine (CDM) is a research-intensive dental school within a world renowned integrated medical center, the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). CUMC includes Columbia’s Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and CDM as well as affiliated hospitals and centers  (New York Presbyterian Hospital, Children’s Hospital of New York, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, etc.), and various community-based primary care clinics. Within CDM, its Section of Social and Behavioral Sciences has a long tradition of excellence in public health education and research, focusing primarily in health policy research at the national level, health services research and epidemiology. Section activities are supported by educational leadership development grants from HRSA and by the National Institutes of Health. Most DPH faculty members hold joint academic appointments at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, offering access to a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment that is well suited to serve the DPH trainees.
Admission Requirements

  • DDS or DMD degree or foreign equivalent
  • MPH or equivalent degree from a School of Public Health
  • Satisfactory TOEFL scores (foreign applicants should check CDM website for details)
  • Transcripts from Dental School and School of Public Health
  • Letters of recommendations (3) describing the applicant’s theoretical background and practical experiences as well as the potential to lead in the field of dental public health

How to apply
Application form is available on line (
Application deadline is March 15th (for a July start) or Oct. 15th (for a January start).

Please address all questions to the program’s Coordinator

Leila E. Neal
Administrative Coordinator
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
630 W. 168th  Street – Box 20
New York, N.Y., 10032
Tel. (212)342-3550   *  Fax (212) 342-8558