Silk: ‘There’s hope’ for integrating dental and medical care

UMMS professor expresses optimism about the possibility in a WBUR CommonHealth segment

By Ellie Castano

UMass Medical School Communications

February 04, 2014

Despite the challenges of changing deeply entrenched medical practices, Hugh Silk, MD, remains hopeful that integrating oral health care with overall health care is possible, according to comments he made in an interview with WBUR’s CommonHealth. TheFeb. 4 segment examines the separation of dental care from other health care and the movement among some medical professionals, including those in community health and medical education, to reintegrate the two and work toward comprehensive insurance that covers both.

“Major things have happened in our lifetime, around the world, where things you thought would never happen have happened,” said Dr. Silk, clinical associate professor of family medicine & community health. “Maybe we’ll get to a point where people will revisit. Look, we have dental insurance and we have medical insurance, and it’s time for health insurance, so I think there’s hope.”

Silk is a longtime advocate for the integration of dental care into primary care and has worked toward that goal in teaching and in practice. In 2012, he took his advocacy into a more political realm by presenting a formal resolution asking the Massachusetts Medical Society to create a task force to determine what MMS could do to engage its membership in learning about oral health in order to help patients. He now serves as chair of the MMS oral health committee.

Read or listen to the story: Put Back The Teeth? Why We Separate Dental And Medical Care

Related link on UMassMedNow:
Medicine from the heart . . . Hugh Silk