Office of Research and Community Engagement
The California Northstate University College of Dental Medicine’s (CDM) research program has an emphasis on translational and community service research aimed at addressing the significant disparities in oral health and access to oral health care among residents of California’s Northern Central Valley as well as an emphasis on pedagogical scholarship. Even in the current early stage of development of the CDM, there is already a research portfolio of over $2 million in grants focused in this area.
Community Engagement Mission
CDM’s mission includes an emphasis on community services. This mission will be accomplished through grant funded programs, partnerships with public and private entities focused on the health of the population, and educational programs that prepare and inspire dental professionals to improve the health of their communities.
Current Grants and Projects
Current grants focus on translation of dental disease prevention and behavior support science into clinical care, integrated into communities, and using innovative delivery models to demonstrate the ability to improve access to oral health services, improve health outcomes, and lower the cost of care. These grants are focused on:
The Virtual Dental Home System of Care
The Virtual Dental Home (VDH) is a system of care created by Dr. Paul Glassman when he was Director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. The VDH uses technology to bring high-quality and safe dental care to children and adults where they already spend time, such as at schools, early learning sites, residential facilities, community centers and nursing homes. It has been proven both successful and cost-effective in demonstration projects throughout California and can contribute to the solution of getting dental care to those who need it most. The system is being replicated in states across the county.
More information is available about the Virtual Dental Home system of care.
Early Childhood Oral Health Assessment
The Early Childhood Oral Health Assessment (ECOHA) system is an electronic support system for community health workers (CHWs) and home visitors to enable them to act as front line workers to identify young children at risk for dental disease, provide educational resources, and link them to further care.
ECHOA is currently being transitioned to a new platform with the intent to make it available across the state. CDM will be supporting this system with training and on-going support for CHWs, home visitors, and agencies.
Alternatives to Sedation and General Anesthesia for People with Special Needs
There is a long-standing problem with long-wait times for people to get dental care under sedation or general anesthesia. The Sacramento Medicaid Dental Advisory Committee (MCDAC) has been convening workgroups to address these issues. They have produced a report on this issue and recommendations for action
CDM is currently heading the effort to reduce the need for dental care using sedation and general anesthesia by creating a system to support alternatives that can keep people healthy in community sites and prepare them for care in a dental office when needed.
Supporting Integration of Community-based care into Pediatric and Dental Public Health Residency Programs
CDM is supporting a UCSF HRSA grant designed to incorporate community-based care into UCSF’s Pediatric and Dental Public Health Residency Programs. CDM’s role is to support the development of a Virtual Dental Home system that UCSF’s Pediatric and Dental Public Health Residents will participate in.
Remote Oral Health Support
CDM is working with the Valley Mountain Regional Center to develop a Remote Oral Health Support System. This system will allow a dental hygienist to review photographs and records uploaded by a caregiver for a person with a developmental disability and participate with the individual and their caregiver in a real-time video session. The goal of this system is to support caregivers in performing or supporting “daily mouth care” procedures, identify oral health concerns, and direct needed interventions.
Completed Grants and Projects
On December 31. 2020 the California Dental Transformation Initiative (DTI) Local Dental Pilot Projects came to an end. CDM supported the work of incorporating the Virtual Dental Home System in four counties. Reports that include finding and recommendations from this work are now available.
Other Related Work
In 2020 CDM started a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) Education Program. The program is directed by Dr. Paul Glassman and managed by staff from the Office of Research and Community Engagement.
More information is available about CDM’s RDHAP Program.