​​Behavioral and Social Sciences/Population Oral Health

A number of CDM faculty conduct research to improve populations’ oral health through transformative thinking and practice. Our multidisciplinary faculty utilizes a range of research methodologies that address oral health from individual to global levels. Unifying all of our approaches is a commitment to reducing oral health disparities and promoting oral health across the lifespan.


Oral health policy research investigates the impact of governmental and organizational policies on population oral health status and dental care. We consider how public health interventions and programs impact oral health equity and how health delivery and financing evolution impacts cost, quality, and access to dental care for all. Examples of areas that we study include Medicaid/CHIP, integration of dental and medical coverage and practice, the Affordable Care Act, state oral health programs, and interdisciplinary practice.

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Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

Our faculty develop, implement, and evaluate integration of oral health into services and programs, both locally and globally, that target vulnerable populations to improve uptake, sustainability, and reach. Examples of target populations are community-dwelling, homebound, and institutionalized older adults and adults living with HIV and AIDS. Examples of local community partners are Meals-on-Wheels, New York City’s Department for the Aging, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Social and Behavioral Research

We apply social and behavioral theories, together with qualitative and quantitative techniques, to behaviors of clinicians, patients, populations, payers, and policymakers, addressing questions that range from how people adopt quotidian oral health behaviors which impact oral health and quality of life to how economic incentives drive systems. Among longstanding foci of this domain are studies to support a shift in early childhood oral health care from a “surgical” to a “medical" model through technology-assisted, peer-counseled, early interventions designed to prevent caries initiation and suppress its progression.

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Educational Research

Our dental education research examines the influences that our federal training grants have on dental students’ career decisions. We seek to understand how dental students prepare for practice in the evolving US healthcare delivery and financing systems and what determines their decisions regarding practice settings, post-graduate career plans, and non-traditional careers.

Psychosocial Research

Recognizing the impacts of fear and anxiety in oral health care utilization, our researchers are assessing the prevalence of dental-related anxiety in our local population and its impact on quality of life, and what interventions reduce this barrier to care.

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Business, Marketing, and Delivery Research

Faculty research interests extend to consideration of dentists' decisions regarding practice, Medicaid participation, and involvement in academe.

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Health Services Research

Through its multidisciplinary group from across the medical center, our population oral health initiative advances the delivery of health services by developing and disseminating evidence-based guidelines, investigating health literacy and consumer empowerment through information, and studying linkages between oral health, general health, and birth outcomes using insurance databases. Its tobacco cessation research focuses on development and testing of innovative interactive curricula.

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