Oral Health in Childhood and Adolescence
The Oral Health in Childhood and Adolescence Transdisciplinary Core seeks to identify and remove the educational, political, psychological, social and nutritional barriers to the prevention and treatment of dental caries (tooth decay) in the children and adolescents of Richmond. Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. Youth who suffer tooth decay have lower academic achievement in school and are at higher risk for systemic diseases as adults.
Improving oral and overall health for children and adolescents
This transdisciplinary core promotes teamwork toward innovative solutions for improving oral and overall health outcomes for children and adolescents. This core also provides a rich environment for the recruitment and engagement of diverse and underrepresented faculty and students to work and learn through solving oral health problems that disproportionately affect underserved populations.
Transdisciplinary core team
- Tegwyn Brickhouse, D.D.S., Ph.D.
- Associate professor, director of the oral health services research core, Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach, School of Dentistry
Dr. Brickhouse guides the partnerships for core activities within the university, health system and community to improve and integrate this oral health core into overall health and health care. She works to broaden access to education in oral health careers for students, create an inclusive environment for faculty and foster innovative oral health services research and solutions to improve the oral health of children.
- Aderonke Akinkugbe, B.D.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.
- Assistant professor, Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach, School of Dentistry
Dr. Akinkugbe will focus on community engagement within the Core to garner a better understanding the relationship between children's oral health and overall health, what barriers to dental care impact children and their families and create innovations to overcome these barriers. Her research interests include but are not limited to oral epidemiology, genetic impacts on oral diseases, social determinants of health and health services research.
- Harold Fitrer, Ed.D.
- President and CEO, Communities in Schools of Richmond
Dr. Fitrer will collaborate with the VCU term faculty working within his organization, as well as work with the core, to better understand the oral health needs of students and families. He will help connect CIS-R with the core’s activities and create the multidimensional community partnership to address the oral health needs of Richmond’s children.
- Muthoni Imungi, M.S.W., Ph.D.
- Director of field education and assistant professor in teaching, School of Social Work
Dr. Imungi is the director of field education for the School of Social Work where she oversees the field education of bachelor and masters level social work students. Social work students complete their field education in human service agencies, organizations and institutions located throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Oswaldo Moreno, Ph.D.
- Assistant professor of psychology, Department of Psychology - Counseling
Dr. Moreno's research involves understanding and addressing mental healthcare disparities in the U.S. that affect individuals from low-income and racial/ethnic minority backgrounds. His research program includes applied research that lie at the intersection of cognitive-behavioral theories and cultural and contextual approaches including psychology of religion and spirituality, culturally sensitive interventions, as well as substance use and mood disorders.
- Sarah Raskin, M.P.H., Ph.D.
- Assistant professor, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Dr. Raskin is a medical anthropologist whose work on oral health disparities and access to dental care in central Appalachia won the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Rudolf Virchow graduate student paper award. Her research interests include health services; health policy; the health care workforce; race, class, and the body; stigma; community engagement; qualitative methods; and intersectional frameworks for advancing health and health care equity.
- Sarah Jane Brubaker, Ph.D.
- Associate professor, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Dr. Brubaker is responsible for the core’s activities and collaboration with the teaching and research faculty. She also contributes her expertise in public policy related to health, economics or poverty, and advancing welfare and social justice.
- Shillpa Naavaal, B.D.S., M.S., M.P.H.
- Assistant professor, Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach, Philips Institute for Oral Health Research, School of Dentistry
Dr. Naavaal brings expertise in population oral health and oral health services and policy research. Her research interests include but are not limited to oral health surveillance, social determinants of health, oral health risk factors, and role of health insurance in access and use of care.
- Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D.
- Professor and director of the Counseling Psychology Program, Department of Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
Dr. Mazzeo coordinates activities related to the behavioral aspects of oral health change initiatives. She brings expertise regarding community-engaged research.
- Tiffany L. Williams, M.S.D., D.D.S.
- Assistant professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry
Dr. Williams specializes in pediatric dentistry and brings a wealth of knowledge about peri- and prenatal oral health care. She is focused on preventive oral care for the pediatric population and improving oral health outcomes for children both locally and abroad.
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