Dental Public Health Program

Dr. Kavita Ahluwalia
Program Director

PASS/Match Program No
Application Deadline March 15
Program Start Date July 1
Number of Positions 3
Length of Program 1 year


Apply to the Dental Public Health Program 

The Dental Public Health training program is an intensive 12-month program ideally suited to dentists with MPH or equivalent degrees who wish to pursue leadership careers in public health. Dentists who successfully complete the program are awarded a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Dental Public Health. Graduates are eligible, upon examination, to become Diplomates of the American Board of Dental Public Health. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

Enrolled postdoctoral students focus on the integration of evidence-based clinical dentistry with population sciences and public health in an intense year-long training program. Through core academic coursework, field experience that involves community participation, and research practice, the program’s educational objective is to develop the following competencies:

  • Plan oral health programs for populations
  • Implement, manage and develop resources for such programs
  • Select interventions and strategies for the prevention and control of oral diseases and promotion of oral health
  • Incorporate ethical standards
  • Evaluate and monitor dental care delivery systems
  • Design and understand the use of surveillance systems
  • Communicate and collaborate with groups and individuals on oral health issues
  • Advocate for, implement and evaluate public health policy legislation and regulations to protect and promote the public’s oral health
  • Critique and summarize the scientific literature
  • Design and conduct clinical and population-based studies to answer oral and public health questions

What is Dental Public Health?

Dental Public Health (DPH) is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting health through organized community efforts. Dental Public Health is one of the recognized specialties of Dentistry in the United States.

Why study DPH at Columbia University?

Columbia University's College of Dental Medicine presents an ideal environment for the practice of dental public health, a natural laboratory where ideas are conceptualized and pilot-tested. The College is located in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, which is geographically close to the Harlem community. Both communities have a diverse underserved population. The College participates in various initiatives to help the local community overcome the burden of oral dental disease and offers a multitude of community-oriented educational opportunities to trainees.

The College of Dental Medicine is a research-intensive dental school within a world-renowned integrated medical center, the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). CUMC includes Columbia’s Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and the College of Dental Medicine, as well as affiliated hospitals and centers (NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Children’s Hospital of New York, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, etc.) and various community-based primary care clinics. Within the College of Dental Medicine, the Section of Population Oral Health has a long tradition of excellence in public health education and research, focusing primarily in health policy research at the national level, health services research, and epidemiology. Section activities are supported by educational leadership development grants from HRSA and by the National Institutes of Health. Most DPH faculty members hold joint academic appointments at the Mailman School of Public Health, offering access to a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment that is well suited to serve the DPH trainees.

Vision and Goals

The long term vision of the DPH training program at Columbia University is to reduce the impact of oral dental diseases locally, nationally, and globally by “transforming” dentists into public health leaders who excel in identifying unmet dental needs and in designing and evaluating programs to prevent, track, and control oral diseases.

The Program’s objective is to educate students to become proficient and critically thinking Dental Public Health specialists.

The Program’s goals are:

  • To provide trainees with an in-depth knowledge of the principles of Dental Public Health
  • To develop competencies and skills that will allow the postdoctoral students to analyze complex public health problems in the community and to evaluate, design, and implement community-based interventions to address the problems
  • To prepare DPH postdoctoral students for leadership positions in academia, community health, government, or public health agencies
  • To develop the postdoctoral students’ research skills and to introduce them to the requirements and principles of scientific writing

HRSA Fellowships

A limited number of fellowships that include tuition and stipend (approximately $50,000) are available through a federally-funded grant for applicants with United States citizenship, non-citizen nationals, or foreign nationals having in their possession a visa permitting permanent residence, (i.e. Green Card) in the United States. 

You must first apply to, and be accepted into the Dental Public Health Program to be eligible for a fellowship.
For more information on admissions to the DPH program, email:

For more information and Fellowship application please contact:

Emily Alspector Byington
Fellowship Program Coordinator