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Elder care group begins research

Committee works in response to 2006 ADA House resolution

The ADA Elder Care Research Committee, formed in response to Resolution 5H-2006, met at ADA Headquarters in Chicago Oct. 30 and 31.

The committee was formed to identify, collect and synthesize existing research on the oral health of the vulnerable elderly to identify knowledge gaps.

"These highly qualified individuals will identify knowledge gaps that affect the vulnerable elderly by finding effective ways to gather data on the oral health of this population group," said Barbara J. Smith, Ph.D., manager, Geriatric and Special Needs Populations for the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations.

"They will also help stakeholders identify opportunities and funding for continued research in health areas that affect the oral health of vulnerable seniors and identify ways to disseminate knowledge to health care workers, policymakers and the public."

The seven-member committee includes:

  • Dr. Douglas Berkey, director of Gerontological Programs and professor of Dentistry and Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and dental director of Total Longterm Care, which serves the metro Denver area;
  • Dr. Teresa Dolan, professor and dean at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, whose research has focused on access to care issues, oral health promotion and appropriate oral health outcomes for older populations;
  • Dr. Gretchen Gibson, staff dentist at the Fayetteville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, Ark., whose lectures, research and publications focus on the areas of geriatric dental care, salivary dysfunction and the oral health of the homeless;
  • Dr. Robert Henry, director for Geriatric Dental Services, assistant chief of dentistry at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., clinical associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, and a research associate at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging;
  • Dr. Judith Jones, professor and chair in the Department of General Dentistry at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, who provided expertise to ADA Elder Care Task Force 2004-2006, which served as the basis for the initiatives contained in Res. 5H-2006;
  • Dr. Melanie Lang, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Spokane, Wash., and a member of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations who will report back to the Council regarding the activities of the research group;
  • Dr. Frank Scannapieco, professor and chair of the Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, whose research focuses on oral microbiology, molecular mechanisms of oral bacterial colonization and the interface between oral and systemic health, especially the role of oral conditions in the process of respiratory infection.

For more information on the research committee, contact Dr. Smith by calling toll-free, Ext. 2697.