Introduction: The Importance of Oral Health and the Oral Health Initiative



This Integrating HIV Innovative Practices (IHIP) curriculum provides HIV care providers with guidance on how to replicate models of care developed to improve the delivery of oral health care to people with HIV (PWH). These best practices stem from the wealth of research produced by participants in the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Innovations in Oral Health Care Initiative (Oral Health Initiative).

SPNS is the research arm of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, facilitated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB), which supports the demonstration of cutting-edge and replicable approaches to HIV care.

To promote further dissemination and replication of successful models of care, SPNS launched the IHIP project. IHIP includes manuals, curricula, Webinar trainings, pocket guides, and more to assist health care providers and others delivering HIV care with the adoption of evidence-based models of care into their practices. 

This curriculum is designed to provide program-planning information to a target audience of HIV, primary care, and dental providers interested in expanding or replicating innovative models of oral health care for PWH. The curriculum comprises nine instructional modules. The modules contain a mix of discussions, activities, resources, and other training guidance designed to help participants build their knowledge, skills, and abilities related to:

  • The role of oral health in total patient care of PWH
  • Barriers that exist for PWH in accessing oral health care
  • Key clinical guidance to integrating oral health care in the HIV medical setting
  • Oral health terminology
  • Dental case management
  • Patient oral health education
  • How to build organizational capacity for oral health care
  • Pros and cons of various organizational models studied in the SPNS Oral Health Initiative and
  • Program sustainability.

The curriculum is designed to deliver hands-on instruction to simplify the implementation of SPNS Oral Health Initiative best practices. The curriculum complements the following tools that are also part of a suite of IHIP oral health resources:

  • Training Manual: The training manual provides background information about the SPNS Oral Health Initiative and synthesizes the key lessons learned. (Link to training manual).
  • Pocket Guide: Created by the Florida/Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC), the pocket guide is designed to fit inside a lab coat pocket and serve as a condensed implementation guide of the most essential lessons learned from the Oral Health Initiative, with an emphasis on those lessons most relevant for day-to-day practice. (Link to pocket guide).
  • Training Webinars: A series of training Webinars feature expert speakers sharing successful strategies and lessons from the SPNS Oral Health Initiative.

Training Design

The training modules in this curriculum have been set up to accommodate the busy schedules of HIV clinics and agencies. Each module may be taught as a standalone session, which takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete (although longer sessions may be broken into shorter modules to meet clinic needs and time constraints; where this break could occur is indicated), and includes teacher instruction, guided group discussion, group activities, and group evaluation components. When longer periods of time are available, sessions may be combined.

Although specialized training is not required, it is highly recommended that Trainers familiarize themselves with the information in this curriculum and the related IHIP training manual and pocket guide. It is also helpful for both Trainers and participants to reference the oral health terminology provided in Module 4 of this curriculum to facilitate comprehension of the topics discussed throughout the training modules.

Instructional Approach

This curriculum is set up as a series of trainings, activities, and handouts designed to teach, engage, and guide staff discussion around the implementation of oral health care in the HIV medical setting.

The staff member(s) heading the implementation process within the clinic ideally should facilitate the trainings. Group discussions and group activities also may include input from other speakers, including (but not limited to) other clinic staff, partnering agency representatives, or other HIV/AIDS-related personnel.

The activities described in the curriculum accommodate up to 20 participants easily and can be modified as needed. The activities encourage learning through interactive discussion, rather than just lecture, in order to familiarize participants with proven approaches to engaging and retaining PWH in care.

Materials and Equipment

Each module comes with an associated PowerPoint presentation, as well as detailed discussion and activity guides. Handouts are also provided for many of the modules.

Throughout this curriculum, the Trainer will require the following materials for each training session:

  • A computer and compatible LCD projector that can readily play the training sessions’ PowerPoint presentations
  • Handouts of the material to be reviewed in that day’s training session (which are on their own pages to facilitate printing and photocopying)
  • Paper and easel(s) or whiteboard
  • Colorful markers
  • Tape for affixing paper to the wall as necessary.

The Trainer (or a staff member assigned by the Trainer) should neatly log thoughts and questions on the paper during each session, since participants may want to refer to notes from previous sessions. The Trainer may want to transcribe these notes into a Word document to permit production of future reports, work plans, and guidance related to the selected model(s) of care.

Manual Format

Throughout the manual are detailed slides with talking points, guided discussions, and group activities to facilitate the learning process. At the start of each module is a breakdown of the training’s components, which are marked by the following symbols:

Session Length Session Length

Teaching Presentation Teaching Presentation

PowerPoint Slide PowerPoint Slide

Group Discussion Group Discussion

Group Activity Group Activity

Video Icon Video

Trainers NoteTrainer's Note