Institute for Community Research
Good Oral Health Project

Good Oral Health Project

Dental health image

Good Oral Health: Building Collaborative Research Infrastructure to Reduce Oral Health Disparities Among Low-Income Older Adults

A consortium that included ICR, the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine and NCAAA received a three year stimulus grant from NIDCR to build infrastructure to support clinical and community-based training and research on geriatric oral health and establish research links with publicly supported apartment buildings that were home to older adults and people with disabilities. This project focused on building a statewide oral health research alliance to promote geriatric oral health projects, services and research for and with older adults. A prominent aspect of the project was to develop a group of informed older adult oral health research advocates who would both propose and participate in endorsing studies designed to improve geriatric oral health services and quality of life among older adults in the Greater Hartford area.  Significant oral health disparities exist among older low income and minority community dwelling adults.  There is little research on these topics that would assist in improving oral health among vulnerable older adults.  Without proper screening and regular treatment, dental decay, oral cancers and other lesions and gum problems can lead to chronic pain, illness, exacerbation of chronic health problems and even death. The Oral Health Research Strategic Alliance (OHRSA), a statewide alliance to support advances in community based oral health research and prevention was formed, and later integrated into the statewide Older Adult Oral Health Task Force.

Project Goals

Working with clinicians, building managers and resident to better understand residents’ perceptions or oral health, what role it plays in their lives, and what problems they have encountered in accessing dental care.

Working with resident groups to develop research projects and carry out educational programs to help people learn about achieving good oral health
Involving residents, clinicians and OHRSA members in informing healthcare providers, advocates, and policymakers about appropriate oral health needs of older adults.

Building the basis for collaborative and participatory research on and with older adults to address oral health disparities

Staffing Structure

Jean Schensul, Ph.D.
Principle Investigator

Kim Radda, M.A., R.N.

Colleen Foster-Bey, M.Ed.
Key Implementer, Interventionist

University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine
Susan Reisine, Ph.D.
Principle Investigator

Ruth Goldblatt, D.M.D.

Clara Acosta-Glynn, M.S.W.
Key Implementer, Interventionist

University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Nouvlette Williams
Study Intern