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New Center at the University at Albany will Help Pinpoint Oral Health Access Disparities, Provide Insight for Improving Workforce Issues

Center will be Uniquely Focused on Oral Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 13, 2014) – The University at Albany School of Public Health will launch an Oral Health Workforce Research Center, supported by a $1.1 million Cooperative Agreement grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The Center, an outgrowth of UAlbany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies, is one of five health workforce research centers in the country, but the only one uniquely focused on the oral health workforce.

In the past decade, access to oral health care has become a growing national concern. Despite efforts to improve oral health, disparities persist, particularly among underserved, vulnerable populations. One factor believed to influence access to oral health services is the availability of a workforce equipped to meet the need for preventive and basic restorative oral health services.

Dentist and hygienist
The School of Public Health Oral Health's Workforce Research Center will become one of only five such health workforce research hubs in the country uniquely focused on the oral health workforce.

"Oral health has historically been viewed as being separate from other forms of physical health. However, research shows that poor dental health can be linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia and pregnancy complications," said School of Public Health Dean Philip C. Nasca. “The Oral Health Workforce Research Center will provide much-needed data about gaps in the public health workforce, identify barriers to good oral health, and support the development of policy and practice models."

In its first year of operation, the Oral Health Workforce Research Center intends to: 

• Update the Professional Practice Index for Dental Hygienists in the 50 States and the District of Columbia;
• Compare Medicaid Dental Claims Data in Two States with Different Adult Dental Benefits;
• Study the Dental Assistant Workforce in the U.S.;
• Develop case studies for six federally qualified health centers to describe oral health services delivery and oral health workforce innovation; and
• Develop case studies of oral health service delivery models used in long-term care settings.

About the Center for Health Workforce Studies
The Center for Health Workforce Studies was established in 1996 at the School of Public Health, University at Albany. The Center for Health Workforce Studies is a not-for-profit research organization whose mission is to provide timely, accurate information and conduct policy-relevant research about the health workforce. The Center’s work assists health, professional, and education organizations, policy makers, and planners and other stakeholders to understand issues related to the supply, demand, distribution, and use of health workers.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.