NCIOM Task Force Releases 14 Recommendations for Patient-Centered Oral Health

News | April 24, 2024


Khristian Curry, Project Director  

Kaitlin Phillips, Communications   


Chapel Hill, North Carolina (April 24, 2024) – Evidence shows that high-quality oral health care plays a critical role in individual and community health outcomes. Over 18 months, oral health practitioners, patients, researchers, and other experts came together to develop a consensus vision for a patient-centered future for oral health in North Carolina. This work has produced 14 recommendations focused on delivery of equitable, accessible, integrated, high-quality oral health care

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Oral Health Transformation Task Force’s vision for the future of oral health in our state includes the following key outcomes: 

  • Patients easily access affordable care within an integrated health care model
  • Oral health care providers, including and specifically those serving Medicaid patients, work within a system of high-quality, cost-effective care that is seamlessly integrated, with a wholistic approach that fosters collaboration among health and social care teams
  • North Carolina’s oral health system is a collaborative ecosystem in which North Carolina Medicaid and other state agencies, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations, and diverse thought partners work together to cultivate a wholistic, accountable, and equitable approach to oral health.

“These recommendations represent the evidence-driven, solution-focused work of a group of nearly 60 North Carolinians committed to ensuring equitable, accessible oral health care for all in our state,” said Michelle Ries, MPH, Interim President and CEO of the NCIOM.

The recommendations and strategies in the task force’s report aim to make these ideals a reality for all North Carolinians, and they recognize an array of responsible parties, including state policymakers.

“Oral health is an important component of whole-person health that can often be overlooked,” said Jay Ludlam, Deputy Secretary, NC Medicaid, who served as a task force co-chair. “The recommendations of the task force help strengthen the delivery of oral health service through North Carolina’s Medicaid program and ensure our most vulnerable populations and historically marginalized communities receive access to quality care.”

The Duke Endowment jointly funded the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative, a project of the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, to collaborate on a three-phase oral health transformation initiative. This funding supported the task force in convening between August 2022 and October 2023 to identify and develop consensus-driven, actionable recommendations for strengthening the delivery of oral health services through NC Medicaid and promoting whole-person health across the state. 

This work was guided by a focus on the needs of vulnerable populations and included input and perspectives from a diverse group of task force members. Now that the task force has completed its work, FHLI will continue to champion these recommendations and establish an Oral Health Transformation Coalition. 

“This coalition, reliant on collective action and robust partnerships, will lead the execution of outlined recommendations, steering the momentum established by the task force toward effectual change,” said Steve Cline, DDS, MPH, VP of Oral Health at FHLI. “Now, planning converges with practical execution.”

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is forward-looking and focused on solutions. The organization was founded in 1983 by the North Carolina General Assembly to serve as a source of non-partisan information and analysis to promote effective health policies focused on improving the health and well-being of all North Carolinians. Learn more at