Harvard School of Dental Medicine supports the World Health Organization’s assertion that health is a basic human right. This basic human right is in jeopardy in the United States. Recent changes to federal policies announced last week have the potential to put the health of millions of people living in America at risk by impeding their access to health care services, including dental care, and thereby their right to health.
These new policies have the power to curtail access to benefits provided by public programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Immigrants, and children of immigrants (many of whom are US citizens), may be unable to or fearful of using these public assistance programs under this heightened scrutiny, even if they have significant healthcare needs and are legally eligible for services. As healthcare professionals, we believe that all people should have access to the care they need to maintain health. Our mission states that we are dedicated to fostering a community of global leaders dedicated to improving human health.
President Bacow recently wrote to Washington voicing concerns over recent immigration policies that restrict international students and scholars, and threaten Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status. Likewise, this policy threatens the health of some of the most vulnerable in our society. As healthcare providers and educators, we are concerned for the health and well-being of our patients and others across the country. We will continue to provide care to those in need and mitigate this threat to our patients’ right to health.
Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
At the Harvard Dental Center of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine we are committed to providing safe dental care and to treating each patient with dignity, compassion, and respect. We recognize that a professional relationship based on confidentiality and trust between the dentist/students/providers/hygienists and the patient is essential for the provision of quality oral health care. This Patient Rights and Responsibilities serves as a framework for successful care.