WHA was among the group of key health care stakeholders invited to the table for small group discussions with Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams during her visit to the UW Madison School of Nursing as part of the Littlefield Leadership Lecture Series. WHA priorities, like reduction of regulatory burden, dental health, workforce shortages, and team-based care were included in the discussions.
Trent-Adams advises and supports the Surgeon General in communicating the best available scientific information to advance the health of the nation. This was the focus of the small group discussion Conversation on Research Shaping the Future of Public Health.
In response to a question about the role of health care providers in translating science for health care consumers, RADM Trent-Adams noted, “People do listen to health care providers, but providers are so bogged down by the need to cover every single guideline in every visit that the messages about immunizations, tobacco, or HIV get diluted.” The Deputy Surgeon General added, “We need to repackage it to what the community or patient needs.”
During the research small group discussion, Trent-Adams also touched on improving community health by improving access to dental care using the New Zealand Project on Oral Health as an example. “This project got to the root cause of the issue and developed a new model of care,” she said, noting, “If you can’t get dentists to the schools, use who you can.” In keeping with this model, in 2017, Wisconsin expanded the settings where dental hygienists could provide preventive care without a dentist’s physical presence.
Models of care and workforce were themes in the Conversation on Public Health Policy small group discussion. “We need to build a sustainable model of care that improves outcomes, is affordable, and takes into account the patient’s environment,” Trent-Adams said. “We don’t need highly trained, highly skilled people for all of this; we need to explore how reimbursement affects access and look at models that supplement, not replace, physician care.”