Teledentistry in Schools Program

School-based health programs support equitable access and improved health outcomes reducing barriers to receiving care, such as transportation and scheduling conflicts. Enhancing school-based oral health care availability by leveraging innovative interventions such as teledentistry strengthens provider capacities and improves access to care.

To support the growth and adoption of teledentistry programs in schools, Virginia Health Catalyst (Catalyst) staff, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Department of Education (DOE), will facilitate a learning collaborative for staff teams working in dental safety-net clinics in Virginia. Participants in this initiative will learn skills, design and implement workflows, and develop practice operations that enable teledentistry programs. Participating clinic teams will work collaboratively with a designated local school.

The Virginia Department of Health generously supports this program through a HRSA Workforce grant. VDH funding may not cover direct care or legislative activities.

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    About the Initiative

    Goal: To increase access to oral health services for children in Title I schools through teledentistry.


    Initiative Design

    Over 48 months, three dental safety-net clinic teams and school nurses will collaborate to address emergent issues of students through the Teledentistry in Schools initiative.

    This collaborative learning initiative will establish direct connections between school nurses and dental safety-net clinic teams. Participants will receive high-touch technical assistance, education, and necessary resources to effectively design and implement clinic-specific programs that meet the needs of the patients and families it serves. Team members will also have the opportunity to exchange ideas with other clinic teams and school nurses working toward the same goals.

    Catalyst, VDH, and DOE will facilitate the connection between clinic teams and school nurses and provide a private webpage on Catalyst's website that is accessible with tools, resources, and necessary materials for successful implementation and execution.

    student at school 2


    Anticipated Outcomes
    • The development and implementation of a model that utilizes teledentistry to link schools and safety-net dental clinics
    • Increased access to oral health care services for children participating in school-based care
    • Maximized efficiency of care delivery
    • Increased knowledge of teledentistry policy, and clinical best practices
    • Effective communication and coordination among school staff and clinic teams
    • Creation of a referral process for complex patient needs and Social Determinants of Health
    • Increased revenue through teledentistry billable services
    • A functioning school-based teledentistry program
    • Continuation of care strategy to promote dental homes in underserved areas

    How will clinic teams succeed in the learning collaborative?


      Catalyst staff have over 30 years of experience leading quality improvement projects.


      Clinic and school nurse teams will access over 100 hours of one-on-one or cohort-level support.


      National and state experts in telehealth and teledentistry helped to inform the curriculum and its evidence-based strategies.

    Team Commitments

    Participating teams agree to:

    • Participate in all meetings from January 2023-August 2026
      • 60-minute cohort learning sessions six times a year
      • 30-minute meetings each month with the Catalyst team
      • A storyboard presentation summarizing project results and challenges each year of the project
    • Commit to systemic change strategies that are informed by the Quality Improvement (QI) process
    • Participate in project evaluation activities
    • Share non-identifying data for QI


    The VDH will award participating clinics $80,000 for the four-year term divided into $20,000 annual payments. Funds can purchase supplies and equipment and cover clinical and administrative staff support costs. The funds cannot be used for direct patient care.


    Eligible sites must be a dental safety-net clinic or a non-profit dental clinic in Virginia. Clinics located in Northwest and Southwest Virginia are encouraged to apply.


    November 2022

    RFP release 

    November 2022

    Proposals submission

    December 2022

    Proposals review and notification

    January 2023-August 2026

    1-hour bi-monthly meetings

    Virginia Department of Health logo