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Center for Integrative Global Oral Health

The Center for Integrative Global Oral Health unites health researchers, educators and practitioners at the University of Pennsylvania and beyond in seeking creative solutions to address unmet oral health needs related to the worldwide prevalence of caries, periodontal disease, oral cancer and craniofacial deformity which impacts more than 3 billion people annually.

Vision
Achieving health and well-being by optimizing oral health for all

Mission
Operating through a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion to:

  • Develop and mentor leaders and researchers in oral and population health;
  • Develop and mentor leaders and researchers in health policy and advocacy;
  • Lead and implement advocacy to increase affordability, availability and accessibility for oral health regionally/nationally and globally;
  • Create and disseminate transdisciplinary globally generated evidence-informed guidelines and policies;
  • foster and coordinate a community of implementation research.

Penn Dental Medicine is fortunate to be co-located on a campus with some of the most forward thinking health scholars in the world. This includes faculty based at well-established entities like the Leonard Davis Institute, the University’s hub for research in population health and health policy. It includes colleagues at the Wharton School’s Healthcare Management program, who are experts in health care services research and technology. It includes faculty at the School of Medicine’s Master in Public Health program, which prepares students to be public health leaders. And, it includes new partners, such as scholars at the School for Social Policy and Practice, the Graduate School of Education, and the School of Nursing with whom we can collaborate on issues such as the social determinants of health.

Faculty at the Center will create relevant new curricula for DMD and advanced dental education students as well as organize a new Master of Science in Oral Public Health.

Serving patients in the communities where they live, work, and go to school is a hallmark of a Penn Dental Medicine education. Our community presence recently expanded to 21 dental chairs functioning at five different Community Dental Care Sites. Dental students provide care one day per week for a calendar year beginning in the latter half of their third year and continuing through their fourth year. Students are supervised by 16 faculty and support personnel who routinely work from the community locations, ensuring continuity of care and creating a true dental home for patients. Collectively, the students and faculty provide more than 30,000 hours of care to residents of West Philadelphia.

Faculty within the new Center for Integrated Oral Health will have the ability to examine the health outcomes of our patients to determine how to enhance their oral – and general wellbeing. Researchers will structure interventions aimed at reducing oral cancer, at remediating health problems associated with diabetes and heart disease. Behavior and lifestyle counseling such as smoking cessation and nutrition counseling are offered. Faculty and students will work to address the issues associated with over-consumption of sugar. The community will also benefit as new modes of service delivery are refined, ranging from teledentistry to an integrated electronic health record.

Among the diversity of current research underway:

  • a trial of a targeted oral care intervention in patients undergoing radiation or chemoradiation for head and neck cancer;
  • a collaborative effort between dental and medical experts aimed at improving outcomes for people living with HIV;
  • a study to test how effective a new toothpaste is in reducing tooth cavities in children;
  • a study on screening for cardiovascular disease risk factors in a dental setting; and
  • a stepped-care approach to treating dental fear.

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Contact/Support

For further information or to support the work of the Center for Integrative Global Oral Health, please contact
Elizabeth Ketterlinus, Vice Dean of Institutional Advancement, ekett@upenn.edu.

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