Alexandria, Va., USA – On April 8, 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report, Advancing Oral Health in America. The report was the result of a 2009 request from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the IOM to assess the current U.S. oral health care system and recommend strategic actions for Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) agencies. The IOM convened an expert Committee to explore how HHS could enhance its role as a leader in improving the oral health and oral health care of the nation.
During the course of the project, HHS launched the Oral Health Initiative 2010. Building on this effort from HHS, the IOM Committee recommended several approaches that HHS could take to help improve the oral health of the nation – calling the set of recommendations the New Oral Health Initiative (NOHI).
Advancing Oral Health in America describes the NOHI and makes seven specific recommendations, one of which calls on HHS to place a high priority on efforts to improve open, actionable and timely information to advance science and improve oral health through research. They recommend leveraging resources for research to promote a more robust evidence base specific to oral health care, including but not limited to oral health disparities, and best practices in oral health care and oral health behavior change. The IOM Report further recommends HHS to integrate, standardize and promote public availability of relevant oral health databases and to promote the creation and implementation of new, useful and appropriate measures of quality oral health care practices, cost and efficiency and oral health outcomes. The committee summarized this recommendation with a call for HHS to prioritize oral health research even in a time of limited resources.
"AADR applauds the IOM report and their call for prioritizing oral health research even in these austere times", said AADR President Jeffrey Ebersole. In addition to the examples of research provided in the Report, the AADR would further recommend the HHS Secretary leverage the full NIDCR basic, clinical and translational research portfolio to improve oral health in the U.S. Just one recent (2011) example of basic research that could lead to dramatic improvements in oral health would be the report of a newly recognized dental caries pathogen, Scardovia wiggsiae, isolated from children with Early Childhood Caries, a devastating infection in pre-school children. The research was funded by the NIDCR and would not have been possible without the NIDCR investment in a free online compendium called the Human Oral Microbiome Database. Also, the IOM recommendation for collection of oral health data is crucial for strategies to improve oral health and should include biologic markers for the prediction of disease, such as the use of salivary diagnostics in epidemiologic studies. Other examples abound, including research from the NIDCR Disparities research program that supports interdisciplinary programs that integrate proteomic, genetic, environmental, social and behavioral approaches to understanding the complex factors that determine oral and craniofacial health. Ebersole expanded, "It is only through research that we will impact oral health for all Americans and eliminate oral health disparities".
About the American Association for Dental Research
The American Association for Dental Research (AADR), headquartered in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit organization with nearly 4,000 members in the United States. Its mission is: (1) to advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health; (2) to support and represent the oral health research community; and (3) to facilitate the communication and application of research findings. AADR is the largest Division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).
To learn more about the AADR, visit www.aadronline.org.
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