Nurse Practitioner & Dentist Model for Primary Care

Are You Ready?

How can you prepare for a future where health care is driven by patients and provided by interprofessional collaborative practice teams?

  • Educate dental students about the connections among systemic conditions and oral health.
  • Prepare NP students to recognize common oral conditions and make appropriate referrals.
  • Advance knowledge around the value of IPE and IPCP.
  • Facilitate care integration to improve the health of your patients.


Your academic dental clinic provides an untapped venue for all of these activities. Although it may be challenging for you to execute the NPD model in precisely the way it was done at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, most dental schools are fully capable of integrating aspects of primary care delivery in ways that will enhance education and improve health outcomes. 

A new vision for dentistry

The NPD model is flexible, so you can adapt it to local conditions and use it to help you 
and your partners reach parallel goals. Together, you can meet accreditation standards 
related to IPE or develop clinical placement opportunities for dental and NP students.

Currently, very few NP programs collaborate with dental clinics, and few dental students 
understand the role of NPs in the health care delivery system. As NPs make up the fastest 
growing sector of the primary care workforce, the ability of these two professionals to 
collaborate takes on increasing importance. 

It is impossible to predict the future, but recent history suggests that, over time, patients 
will sit in the driver’s seat when it comes to their health care. They will call on professionals 
who understand one another’s competencies, communicate clearly, and know how to work in teams to deliver well-coordinated care. Integrating primary care into your dental clinic and educating students to provide this type of person-centered care will place you at the vanguard of the future health care delivery system.

The challenge: Help promote and disseminate the Nurse Practitioner & Dentist Model for Primary Care (NPD model), a collaborative model of education and practice developed by schools of the health professions at Harvard and Northeastern Universities.

Our solution: We supported the launch of the NPD model by creating promotional materials for internal and external audiences. We later worked with the client to structure and draft an implementation guide for those wanting to duplicate the model, and we promoted the guide’s use by creating outreach materials, contributing to a webinar and collaborating on a journal article.

Excerpt: