Howard Pollick, BDS, MPH
Health Sciences Clinical Professor
Department of Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences
707 Parnassus Ave., Box 0758
San Francisco, CA 94143
Office of Admissions
513 Parnassus Ave., S-630
San Francisco, CA 94143-0430
415.476.2737, ext. 3 (voice)
Dental Public Health FAQs
Search for topics:
What is Dental Public Health?
Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form of dental practice that serves the community as a patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs, as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis. Implicit in this definition is the requirement that the specialist have broad knowledge and skills in public health administration, research methodology, the prevention and control of oral diseases, and the delivery and financing of oral health care.
What career paths are possible in Dental Public Health?
DPH residents pursue careers in academic teaching and research, administration, program planning and management, health policy, business, industry and government. Opportunities may arise with the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), National Institute of Health (NIH), and many local and state governments.
To get an idea of the jobs currently available, see the following listings:
- American Dental Education Association
- UCSF School of Dentistry
- Dental Public Health, California
- Dental Public Health
- California Counties, Oral Health
- Public Health Institute
What is academic life like in Dental Public Health?
Dental Public Health faculty are expected to teach, provide public service and contribute to new knowledge through publications. DPH faculty with a dental license may also provide direct patient care. Non-tenure track faculty in the Health Sciences Clinical Series focus more on teaching, while tenure-track faculty focus on securing research and/or training grants. A PhD or DrPH degree is helpful in order to achieve the expectations of tenured faculty.
What is clinical life like in Dental Public Health?
While Dental Public Health is a non-clinical dental specialty, having a license to practice dentistry is often an advantage. In San Francisco and the Bay Area, there are a variety of dental clinics available for California licensed dentists. UCSF also has a faculty dental practice, where full-time faculty provide patient care, usually one day a week.
Why should I study DPH at UCSF?
UCSF is an accredited institution that ranks in the top 20 universities in the world according to the 2017 report by U.S. News & World Report. The UCSF School of Dentistry has consistently ranked No. 1 in the United States in NIH funding for the past 25 years. The UCSF DPH program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has several faculty with expertise in Dental Public Health, some of whom are also diplomates of the American Board of Dental Public Health (DPH specialists). UCSF is dedicated to providing the best health care available and continually pushing the boundaries in teaching and research.
What is life like for a Dental Public Health Resident at UCSF?
While some courses require attendance at UCSF's Parnassus campus, field work requires attendance or meetings at public health departments offsite. Corresponding with collaborators and mentors requires good communication skills including conference calls, writing and using email, which are often done from the student’s home. Facility with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint will be needed.
While most residents start in the summer quarter (July), residents can choose to start in a different quarter, take additional classes that interest them with the instructor’s permission, and attend meetings as appropriate to their interests. Some funding may be available for travel to regional or national dental public health meetings.
What are the minimum requirements to complete the DPH residency at UCSF?
Residents are required to achieve competence in the 10 areas of dental public health, as approved by the American Board of Dental Public Health. The DPH residency is 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time. The residency program is competency based and, working with the program director, each resident designs his or her own course to address the 10 competencies.
The resident will:
- Meet with the Director of the program at least monthly person-to-person.
- Meet with other faculty members, including a statistician, to be scheduled as appropriate.
- Develop a residency plan that ensures the completion of the DPH competencies and submit it to the director by the end of the second month of the program. The residency plan should also include a "roadmap" beginning with an adjustable five-year plan, major experiences and accomplishments expected during the residency (e.g., presentations at state or national meetings, publications, and major training opportunities taken, such as UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute) and ending with an outline of plans following the completion of the residency, including plans for taking the DPH Board exam. The residency plan will be reviewed monthly with the residency director.
- Provide to the director a weekly electronic Activity Diary. The resident will match the weekly activities to the competencies and provide a quarterly summary along with percentage of activity in each of the 10 competency areas using a pre-designed format in Microsoft Excel.
- Complete a major and a minor research project by the end of the program. The criteria for the format and content of these projects must conform to the requirements for submission to the American Board of Dental Public Health. Final drafts of the reports must be submitted to the director in the 11th month (23rd month if half-time), to provide time for review and response to comments and completion of the reports by the end of the program.
- In the 11th month (23rd month if half-time) of the residency, present completed projects orally with a PowerPoint presentation to the director, project advisor and other faculty.
- Submit a protocol for the major project and present orally with a PowerPoint presentation to the director, project advisor and other faculty before the fourth month (eighth month if half-time) and similarly submit and present a protocol for the minor project before the sixth month (12th month if half-time). The protocols will include a critical evaluation of the scientific literature and appropriate research design.
- Will read, outline and report to the director monthly on three required textbooks/reports:
- "Dentistry, Dental Practice and the Community" (6th or latest edition) by Burt and Eklund.
- "Primary Preventive Dentistry" (8th or latest edition) by Harris, Garcia-Godoy and Nathe.
- "Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General" (2000).
Each of these textbooks/reports should be divided into 12 segments (24 if half-time).
- Register each quarter (Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring) for the Dental Public Health courses: DPH 400 (5 units per quarter; total 20 units), DPH 410 (1 unit per quarter; total 4 units), DPH 420 (3 units per quarter; total 12 units). The resident will successfully complete the objectives of each course in each applicable quarter.
- Register for DPH 175 (1 unit per quarter; total 3 units) in Fall, Winter and Spring quarters.
- Register for DPH 200 (2 units, if available) and DPH 210 (2 units) during Summer quarter.
- Complete Dentistry Postgraduate registration fees per quarter. Note additional fees for Summer Session. Half-time students are limited to 6 units per quarter and pay half the registration fees. Students are eligible for financial aid.
- Participate in teaching an elective course on Dental Public Health. The course will use the modules developed for the HRSA-AAPHD Project. The DPH Residency Director will provide access to the modules.
- Keep up with the current evidence-base in dental public health by selecting articles from peer-reviewed journals and other sources, some of which are posted electronically on the DPH courses, and discussing the specifics of an article with the director and other faculty monthly. Faculty may also assign specific reading assignments.
Are there opportunities to take additional or elective courses?
Yes; students are given flexibility to explore different areas and focus on both their strengths and weaknesses. Additional courses can be taken for credit or audited, with the instructor’s permission.
Can courses be waived?
While DPH 200 and DPH 210 can be waived, residents are encouraged to take these courses for credit.
Are there different training sites?
Field work requires attendance or meetings at public health departments, locally in the Bay Area or in Sacramento.
Is there any travel required as part of the program?
Yes; there will be some travel required for field work and residents may attend professional regional or national dental public health meetings. Limited support may be available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Does UCSF offer a PhD or a DrPH in Dental Public Health?
Not at this time. However, UC Berkeley does offer both PhD and DrPH programs.
How long is the UCSF DPH program?
The program is 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.
Do I have to attend UC Berkeley to apply for the UCSF program?
No; however, an MPH is still required for the UCSF program. If applicants are interested in the joint UCB/UCSF program, applicants must apply to UC Berkeley through SOPHAS. The UC Berkeley School of Public Health website has more information. If accepted into the one-year full-time on-campus UCB Interdisciplinary MPH program, students will receive co-mentoring with UCSF DPH faculty and, upon satisfactory completion of the MPH, will be accepted into the UCSF DPH program.
If I do not participate in the joint UCB/UCSF program, is the UCSF program still two years?
No; the UCSF DPH program will only be one-year full time or 24 months half-time. However, using the joint UCB/UCSF program will allow students to use their MPH research to jump-start the two, oral health-focused projects that are required by the UCSF DPH program.
How do I apply for the UCB/UCSF program?
To find out more information about how to apply, visit http://sph.berkeley.edu/admissions/how-to-apply.
To find out more information about the UC Berkeley program, visit http://sph.berkeley.edu/areas-study/interdisciplinary.
Are there other MPH options at UC Berkeley?
There are other UC Berkeley MPH programs:
- There is an on-campus/online program over 2.5 years: http://sph.berkeley.edu/areas-study/campusonline-mph
Alternatively, candidates may choose to obtain their MPH degree from any other accredited program in the U.S.: https://ceph.org/accredited/
When is the deadline for application to the UC Berkeley MPH/UCSF DPH Joint Program?
The priority application deadline for the UC Berkeley MPH program is Dec. 1; however, applications will be accepted through the secondary deadline (March 1) until the class is filled.
Is there a minimum grade point average for the UC Berkeley MPH program?
Yes; the minimum is 3.0.
What degree(s) do I need to apply for the UCSF DPH program?
Applicants need to have a dental degree (foreign or domestic) and an MPH or equivalent degree. Foreign-trained dentists are eligible. For applicants whose native language is not English or who have not completed at least one year of college or university-level studies in the United States, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) also must be taken. UCSF’s institution code is 4840.
What if I have a master’s degree, but it is not in Public Health?
To be equivalent to an MPH degree, the master’s degree must include courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, health care policy and management, environmental health, and behavioral sciences.
If your master’s degree does not include these areas of public health, you must take and complete additional courses to satisfy this prerequisite.
Is there a minimum grade point average for the UCSF DPH program?
Yes; the minimum is 2.7.
What test scores do I need?
None (International applicants, see section on international applicants)
- Do I need to take the GRE?
The GRE is not required for those with an MPH or equivalent; however, the GRE is required if applying to the UC Berkeley Interdisciplinary MPH program.
- Do I need to take the DAT?
A DAT score is not required.
- Do I need to take the National Board Dental Examinations (NBDE)
The NBDE is not a pre-requisite.
Do I need any additional materials?
In the PASS Application, applicants with a dental degree and an MPH must include a personal statement, curriculum vitae (CV), dental school transcript, all undergraduate transcripts, four PASS evaluation forms (PEF), and a dean’s institution evaluation.
After submission, the nonrefundable application processing fee ($60 for domestic applicants, $80 for international applicants) must be paid through the UCSF application portal. The application must be submitted by Feb. 1, while the nonrefundable application processing fee must be submitted by Feb. 10.
For international coursework, international applicants must submit the following directly to the School of dentistry even if they have submitted a copy to PASS. Official transcripts including, detailed grades/marks for all college-level coursework taken at a college or university outside the United States, or a Canadian institution where English is not the official language of instruction. Transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing institution. (Please note: Photocopies, even if notarized, are not acceptable.)
Official course-by-course evaluation is required from Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. or World Education Services for all transcripts received from institutions outside the U.S., including Canadian schools where English is not the official language of instruction.
Send these items to:
University of California, San Francisco
School of Dentistry Office of Admissions
513 Parnassus Ave., S-630
San Francisco, CA 94143-0430
How many individuals are selected, on average, every year into the UCSF DPH program?
The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation for up to four full-time students/residents.
Do you give preference to California residents or UCSF students?
No preference is given to California residents or UCSF students.
Do you have a holistic approach when looking at candidates?
A holistic approach is used in the decision-making process in interviewing and accepting applicants.
How can I make myself look like a stronger candidate?
Applicants need to have the prerequisites (see section on prerequisites) for the program. Dental public health or public health experiences beyond dental and public health school may be an advantage.
When can I apply?
The American Dental Education Association Postdoctoral Application Support Service (ADEA PASS) traditionally opens to applicants in May and closes in February. View the ADEA PASS website for more information.
When is the deadline for applications to the UCSF DPH program?
The deadline for the PASS application is Feb. 1; the deadline for the nonrefundable application-processing fee is Feb. 10.
Are there rolling admissions?
No. The usual application deadline for the UCSF DPH program is Feb. 1; however, applying early through PASS allows the UCSF DPH program director and staff to correspond with the applicant to be sure the application is complete.
Is there an interview process?
Yes, there is an interview process for the UCSF DPH program.
Do I need to turn in anything after I get accepted?
Acceptance may sometimes be contingent upon completing prerequisites.
When will I be notified of acceptance into the UCSF DPH program?
Qualified applicants will receive an invitation for an interview, whereupon notice of acceptance or denial will follow shortly thereafter.
If admitted, can I defer my start date?
While most residents start in the Summer quarter (July), residents can choose to start in a different quarter.
How much is tuition for the UCSF DPH program?
Tuition for California residents is approximately $23,700 (2019) for the 12-month program; nonresident tuition is approximately $38,800 (2019). Financial aid is available for registered students. Fees are approximately half each quarter for those intending to complete the part-time program in 24 months. Visit http://registrar.ucsf.edu/registration/fees/dentistry (see Dentistry Postgraduate) and http://registrar.ucsf.edu/registration/summersessioninfo.
How much is tuition for the MPH program at UC Berkeley?
The fee structure for the one-year UC Berkeley Interdisciplinary MPH program can be found at: http://registrar.berkeley.edu/tuition-fees-residency/tuition-fees/fee-s…
For the one-year MPH program, current tuition is approximately $14,500 (2019) for California residents; and $20,600 (2019) for non-residents.
The full cost of attendance can be found here: https://financialaid.berkeley.edu/cost-attendance.
Are scholarships available?
There are no scholarships currently available for the UCSF DPH program. However, accepted students are eligible for financial aid. Visit https://finaid.ucsf.edu/ for details.
For the UCB or other MPH programs, students can apply to the American Association of Public Health Dentistry for scholarships.
Will UCSF help pay for housing or offer housing options?
There are several options for housing for graduate students available near the campus. Please visit https://graduate.ucsf.edu/housing for more information.
Is there a stipend available?
Yes. Discretionary funds (up to $12,000 per resident) may be available for students embedded within a CA local oral health program for at least 60 hours per quarter.
Is it possible to complete the part time DPH while working full time?
Working full time is not permitted, although working part time is permitted for residents taking the DPH program over two years.
Is a deposit required upon acceptance?
If I am an international student, can I still apply?
Yes, international students are accepted at UCSF. However, international coursework must be taken at an accredited institution and directly sent to the School of Dentistry by the due date.
Do I need to take the National Board Dental Examinations (NBDE)?
The NBDE is not a pre-requisite.
Do I need an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score to apply if I am an international student?
For applicants whose native language is not English or who have not completed at least one year of college- or university-level studies in the United States, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must also be taken. UCSF’s institution code is 4840.
What TOEFL score do I need in order to pass?
Typically, a score of 94 or higher.
If I have taken the TOEFL test before Feb. 1 and my score does not come out until after Feb. 1, can I still be accepted?
To be considered for admission, you must meet all qualifications and submit all required documentation, including the UCSF application processing fee, by Feb. 10.
Are international students eligible for graduate assistantships or internships?
Graduate assistantships or internships are not part of the UCSF DPH program. For further information about these opportunities at UCSF, visit http://gsice.ucsf.edu/frequently-asked-questions.
I have a dental degree from a non-U.S. institution. Will I be able to practice dentistry in California? Are there any clinical requirements for the program?
The UCSF DPH program is non-clinical. Only those residents who already possess a California license to practice dentistry will be permitted to provide clinical services. Completion of this program does not qualify trainees to become licensed to practice in California. Some States other than California recognize specialty training in Dental Public Health as a prerequisite to apply for a regional dental licensing examination. DPH residents must prepare by themselves for any regional licensing examination. The UCSF DPH program does not include preparation for a licensing examination.
I am a dental hygienist with a bachelor’s degree and an MPH. Am I eligible to apply for the UCSF DPH program?
No, a DDS or its equivalent and an MPH or equivalent is required to apply for the Dental Public Health program.
What is the best way to travel to UCSF?
Public transportation is recommended; you can find details and directions at http://511.org/. Parking around the UCSF campuses is for those who live nearby with parking permits or 2-hour street parking. There is public parking on campus: http://campuslifeservices.ucsf.edu/transportation/.