Washington, D.C., May 10, 2011 (PAHO) -The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), one of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, have signed an agreement under which PAHO/WHO will host internships in the area of international oral health for dentists enrolled in the NIDCR's dental public health residency program.

The agreement was signed at PAHO headquarters today by Dr. Isabel Garcia, NIDCR Acting Director and Director of the NIDCR Residency Program in Dental Public Health, and Dr. José Luis Di Fabio, PAHO/WHO's Area Manager for Health Systems Based on Primary Care, acting on behalf of PAHO/WHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses.

The internship program will give the dental public health residents valuable field experience while advancing global oral health, particularly through the Caries Free Communities Initiative. The establishment of an official relationship between PAHO and NIDCR underscores the importance of community-wide efforts to protect oral health.

"We welcome this opportunity to provide an environment that will expose oral health professionals to the global health perspective and international cooperation in health," said Dr. Di Fabio. "We will build visibility of oral health as an essential component of general health and further enhance efforts to develop and test affordable and effective interventions and programs to reduce oral health inequalities."

"This partnership with PAHO will enrich the learning experiences of NIDCR's residents and at the same time create meaningful opportunities for collaboration on topics of interest and benefit to both PAHO and NIDCR," said Dr. Garcia.

The first internship under the new agreement will allow two NIDCR residents to spend time at PAHO headquarters gaining practical experience in dental public health, including the planning and evaluation of educational programs, data analysis and other activities that complement their formal residency training while simultaneously supporting PAHO activities.

"Strategic alliances and partnerships are critical to move forward the global oral health agenda," said Dr. Estupiñán-Day, Regional Advisor for Oral Health for PAHO.

PAHO is an international public health agency with more than 100 years of experience in working to improve the health and quality of life of the peoples of the Americas. It serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system.

NIDCR is the leading funder of research on oral, dental and craniofacial health in the U.S. and a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIH is the primary U.S. federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for common and rare diseases.

For more information, contact: Dr. Nancy Valencia, Coordinator, Oral Health, PAHO/WHO - Tel. 202-974-3185, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .