188853 Northwest/Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities: Reducing oral health disparities of the great Northwest

Monday, October 27, 2008: 3:00 PM

Kiet A. Ly, MD, MPH , Northwest/Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Colleen E. Huebner, PhD, MPH , Northwest / Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The Northwest/Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities (NACROHD) at the University of Washington was one of five oral health disparities research centers funded by NIDCR. NACROHD focused on strategies to reduce disparities experienced by low-income and ethnic minority groups in the Northwestern states, including Alaska. Project goals spanned the life course, for example: increasing access to dental services for pregnant women, oral health education for parents of infants, use of xylitol and fluoride varnish to prevent early childhood caries (ECC), orthodontic intervention for Medicaid-eligible children, and methods to reduce adolescents' dental fear and avoidance.

Settings and collaborators in NACROHD's research stretched from urban Western Washington to rural and agricultural communities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and remote villages of Alaska. Research participants represented many racial and ethnic groups, specifically those who carry the greatest disease burden and receive fewest dental services.

Center investigators were an interdisciplinary team who, through close collaboration with community partnerships, addressed oral health disparities using a wide range of methods including microbiology, biometry, behavioral science, and community-based research. Community-based partners included rural colleges, Indian Heath Boards and Corporations, Dental Service Foundations, state Medical Assistance Administrations, community and farm workers clinics, and Health Maintenance Organizations.

This presentation gives an overview of the work of NACROHD with emphasis on its studies of xylitol to reduce ECC, and computer-assisted approaches to reduce dental fear. We use these and other examples to illustrate how NACROHD leveraged resources to achieve the center goals and advocated for policy change.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the function of an oral health disparities research center. 2. Identify the effective dose and frequency needed for xylitol chewing gum to reduce Streptococcus mutans. 3. Discuss the role of an oral health disparities research center in affecting oral health policy.

Keywords: Oral Health, Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an investigator with the Northwest/Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities and the Project Director for several of the Center's studies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.