​​Behavioral and Social Sciences/Population Oral Health

The Section of Population Oral Health (SPOH) conducts research to advance its mission of improving 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.

Policy

SPOH’s 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.

Faculty active in this area:

Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

We 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.

Faculty active in this area:

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.

Faculty active in this area:

Educational Research

SPOH’s 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.

Faculty active in this area:

Psychosocial Research

Recognizing the impacts of fear and anxiety in oral health care utilization, SPOH assesses 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.

Faculty active in this area:

Business, Marketing, and Delivery Research

SPOH’s interests extend to consideration of dentists' decisions regarding practice, Medicaid participation, and involvement in academe.

Faculty active in this area:

Health Services Research

Through its multidisciplinary group from across the Medical Center, SPOH 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.

Faculty active in this area: