Dental Public Health Residency Program


The Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) offers a one-year full time (two-year part-time equivalent) residency in Dental Public Health (DPH). To be eligible, candidates must have a dental degree and have completed a Master's degree in public health from a school accredited by the US Department of Education. The program is designed to provide dentists with the education to become Board certified in the specialty. Dentists who complete the program are awarded a certificate in Dental Public Health. Upon completion of the program, dentists are eligible to challenge the examination given by the American Board of Dental Public Health (ABDPH).

Dental Public Health is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The mission of our residency program is to educate specialists to promote oral health and prevent oral disease at both the population and individual patient level, with a focus on South Texas and Texas-Mexico border communities.

The objectives of the DPH program at UTHSCSA are to: 1) educate culturally competent public health dentists that can address the oral health needs of children and adults; 2) provide service-learning experiences that will ensure the understanding of efficient and effective dental public health programs that increase access to community preventive services; and 3) cultivate professionals with advanced training in dental public health who can address oral health disparities through services to populations bearing a disproportionate share of oral disease and disability. To accomplish these objectives, DPH residents will demonstrate competency in the ten areas defined by the American Board of Dental Public Health (Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 1998;58 (Suppl 1):114-122).

  1. Plan oral health programs for populations
  2. Select interventions and strategies for the prevention and control of oral diseases and promotion of oral health
  3. Develop resources, implement, and manage oral health programs for populations
  4. Incorporate ethical standards in oral health programs and activities
  5. Evaluate and monitor dental care delivery systems
  6. Design and understand the use of surveillance systems to monitor oral health
  7. Communicate and collaborate with groups and individuals on oral health issues
  8. Advocate for, implement, and evaluate public health policy, legislation, and regulations to protect and promote the public's oral health
  9. Critique and synthesize scientific literature
  10. Design and conduct population-based studies to answer oral health and public health questions

After completion of the DPH residency, individuals are prepared for careers in academics, research, and administration in local, state or national public health agencies, or work with foundations, non-profit organizations, insurance companies, and other community-based groups.

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Application and Admissions


To be considered for admission to the dental public health residency program, the candidate must have a dental degree and a Masters degree in public health or a related discipline. An example of a related degree would be a Masters degree from a School of Public Policy. The dental degree can be an international degree; however, the Masters degree must be from a school that is accredited by the US Department of Education. A list of these schools is available from the US Department of Education website. Additional information is provided in the Dental Public Health Residency brochure.

The application must be received in its entirety by February 28 to be considered for admission to the October 1 class. Please mail all materials to:

DPH Residency Director
Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, MSC 7914
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900


The application can be requested by e-mail to or by mail at the address provided in the previous paragraph. Applicants are advised to send all required materials as early as possible to allow a complete and timely review. Applications must be complete to be considered for a position in the residency. The application and accompanying information should be sent to the Residency Director.

A completed application consists of:

  1. Application form with recent photograph. The application form should be completed accurately and include a recent photograph.
  2. Statement of Career Objectives. The statement of career objectives should be brief (no more than one page) and describe the candidate's plans after completion of the residency. Please include a description of how the DPH residency will help to achieve the candidate's career goals. Indicate a research area of interest that the candidate would like to pursue during the residency.
  3. Curriculum Vita. The vita provides a summary of your educational and employment experiences.
  4. Letters of Recommendation. Letters from three persons with whom the candidate had an educational or work relationship. These individuals should be able to describe the candidate's suitability for the residency, dedication to task, and ability to synthesize information. The letters should be sent under separate cover to the Residency Director at the address provided previously.
  5. Review of a Dental Public Health Topic. The candidate should prepare a 1,000-word review of the literature describing any topic in dental public health. The essay should reflect the candidate’s interest or previous experience. References should be included in the last page with accurate citations noted in the text. The review of the literature provides the committee with an understanding of the candidate's written communication skills and knowledge of public health.
  6. Official TOEFL Score Report. Applicants from countries where English is not the official language needs to provide scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in English, including comprehension, speaking and writing. English proficiency is necessary to participate in seminars, write the research protocols and reports, and interact with faculty, staff, patients, and community leaders.
  7. Official Transcripts. Transcripts are to be sent from all undergraduate and graduate schools that the candidate attended, including Dental School and the School of Public Health. Official transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope directly from the university registrar. Transcripts provided in a language other than English must be accompanied with an English translation and certified by a licensed credentialing service. Transcripts should be sent to the Program Director. The address is provided in the following paragraph. Copies and faxes are not acceptable.

Ask that each institution of higher education send an official transcript to:

David P. Cappelli, DMD, MPH, PhD
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Dental School, Mail Code 7914
7703 Floyd Curl Drive
San Antonio, TX. 78229-3900
Telephone: 210-567-3186
Fax: 210-567-3334

Screening and Selection

The Dental Public Health (DPH) Residency Committee will convene to conduct a preliminary review of the applications. Applications cannot be reviewed if deemed incomplete by the Residency Director. Competitive candidates will be invited for an interview by the Residency Committee and key departmental faculty who are involved in residency training. The interview process provides the applicant with an opportunity to evaluate the program and provides the committee with the ability to evaluate the candidate’s intellectual curiosity, career objectives and goals, and suitability for the program. Following the interview process, the Residency Committee will discuss each candidate’s qualifications and the Residency Director will make the selection with input from the committee. Following this meeting, the Residency Director will notify candidates of the disposition of their application.

Notification of Acceptance

Formal notification of acceptance will be made in writing to the candidate at the address provided on the application. Acceptance will not be made over the telephone.

Additional Materials Required After Acceptance

Once accepted into the residency, the Office of the Registrar, UTHSCSA requires that the following information be provided prior to matriculation into the program. The Residency Director will provide the candidate with additional instructions after admission into the program.

  1. Each candidate will need to provide proof of immunization. If the candidate requires additional immunizations, the candidate will have to obtain required immunizations at his/her expense and demonstrate proof prior to the start of their program.
  2. Each candidate must demonstrate that they have health insurance. If the candidate does not have health insurance, they will be enrolled into the UTHSCSA Student Insurance Plan.
  3. Each candidate must complete a background check through the University.


The Dental Public Health Residency Program received a training grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The training grant allows for funds to provide a stipend to individuals who are either US citizens or permanent residents. For candidates who are not US citizens or permanent residents, other funds may be available to provide a stipend to offset costs during the residency program.

Curriculum in Dental Public Health

The curriculum is designed to provide the dental public health resident with experiences that result in achieving competence in the field of dental public health. At the completion of the residency in dental public health, the candidate should have obtained fundamental knowledge of the philosophy, principles and practice of dental public health and should have developed skills for practicing dental public health, including research, administration, and education. The program is arranged to address the ten competency statements, allowing the resident to develop core knowledge in the area. The required experiences and courses cover a wide range of information believed to be essential for graduates in the field. The curriculum consists of four content areas, including didactic coursework, undergraduate dental teaching, research, field and clinical experiences. Upon demonstration of competency in dental public health, the residents are awarded a specialty certificate.

Upon entry into the program, each resident will prepare a residency plan. This plan outlines the proposed schedule for the year and is accomplished in consultation with the Residency Director. The schedule of rotations and didactic courses will be provided to assist the resident in preparing their plan. In addition, research topics will be identified in consultation with the Residency Director and the research schedule will be incorporated into the residency plan.

The curriculum is divided into four broad educational initiatives.

  1. Didactic Coursework: Dental public health residents are required to take coursework in Advanced Studies in Dental Public Health. This course meets once per week for three hours per week during the entire year of the residency program. This course is a literature review and participation course. Residents are expected to have reviewed the seminal and current literature about a topic in dental public health and discuss their findings with the faculty member. Faculty members in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry and other departments share their expertise with the residents.

    Dental public health residents may take additional coursework in the Biomedical Core Course at UTHSCSA or take additional courses given at the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus. Residents are encouraged to attend lectures and symposia in the school and community that expand their knowledge about dental public health.

  2. Undergraduate Dental Student Teaching: Dental public health residents are required to teach dental students in the Professional Ethics Course. In addition, residents will supervise dental students in community-based programs. Residents will supervise students during community based rotations in Head Start and School based Prevention programs.

  3. Research: The generation of knowledge and the application of scientific methods are a cornerstone to dental public health resident training. To accomplish this objective, residents will conduct two research projects in fulfillment of the expectation of the American Board of Dental Public Health. One project is quantitative and will require the application of upper level statistical methods. The second project can be either quantitative or qualitative. Because of the focus of the Dental Public Health Residency on South Texas and border health issues, one research project may be conducted in Laredo, TX.

    While the research should be focused on topics in dental public health, the work can include study in biomedical sciences, public policy, health care delivery, or other topics in public health. The research report must follow the format outlined by the American Board of Dental Public Health and described on the American Association of Public Health Dentistry website. The plans, protocols, and reports must be developed in direct consultation with the Dental Public Health Residency Director.

  4. Rotations: Residents are expected to develop a broad understanding of administration, programs, and policy. These areas are taught in didactic seminar and through rotation experiences. In addition, residents are involved in dental public health practice and provide dental preventive and treatment services in public practice settings.

    • Field Experiences: To provide an understanding of the administration of dental public health programs, dental public health residents rotate through the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Texas Department of State Health Services: Oral Health Group, and South Texas Environmental Education & Research (STEER) Program. Field experiences are provided to link between didactic learning and DPH application.
    • Clinical Experiences: Dental public health residents provide diagnostic, preventive and treatment services as a component of their training experience. Through the program, residents provide services to children in Head Start, to elementary school children at our school-based sealant clinics at the Roy Cisneros Elementary School, Edgewood ISD, San Antonio, TX and at Perez Elementary School and Kennedy Zapata Elementary School, United ISD, Laredo, TX.
    • South Texas Experiences: The dental public health residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is focused on oral health issues along the Texas-Mexico border. Residents are actively involved in providing services to persons living along the border and in the development of independent research that address the needs of the people living along the border with a focus in Laredo. As an introduction to issues along the border, residents will participate in the South Texas Environmental and Educational Research (STEER) Program. This program serves as an orientation to public health issues along the border, especially in communities surrounding Laredo. In addition, residents will spend a part of the DPH residency program in Laredo conducting research, and/or providing preventive services at elementary schools in our school-based prevention program.