Public Release: 

Columbia Health Sciences professor named 2002 Soros Advocacy Fellow

Columbia University Medical Center

David M. Krol, M.D., FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, assistant professor of health policy and management at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, and an associate of the Center for Oral Health Policy at Columbia's School of Dental and Oral Surgery, has been awarded a special Soros Advocacy Fellowship by the Open Society Institute of New York. The Soros Advocacy Fellowship Program for Physicians is designed to help health care providers cultivate advocacy skills through collaborations with U.S.-based non-profit organizations. As a Soros fellow, Dr. Krol will partner with the Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP) in Washington, D.C., working toward greater integration of primary medical and dental care services in socially vulnerable and special needs pediatric populations. Dr. Krol is one of only three recipients in this year's national competition.

Before joining Columbia's faculty in November 2001, Dr. Krol, an honors graduate of the University of Toledo and the Yale School of Medicine, completed pediatrics training at Cleveland's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and two fellowships at Yale University--one with the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and the other with the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy. Dr. Krol is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics, an associate fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the recipient of the American Medical Association Foundation 2001 Leadership Award.

"According to the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health, dental caries is the single most common chronic childhood disease-five times more common than asthma--and disproportionately affects low-income populations," said Dr. Krol. "It is therefore critical that we improve the interface between providers of medical and dental services for underserved populations. I believe one of the best ways to achieve this goal is to use carefully chosen advocacy activities to raise the level of awareness among primary care physicians and dentists. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to do just that in my new role as a Soros fellow."

"Dr. Krol's work fits beautifully with the missions and goals of both the Soros Advocacy Fellowship program and CDHP," said Dr. Burt Edelstein, founding director of CDHP and director of the division of community health at the Columbia SDOS. "CDHP looks forward to working with Dr. Krol in advocating for children's oral health throughout the next two years."

"With its widely acknowledged core competency in the field of community-based oral health care, SDOS long ago emerged as a leader at the forefront of this issue in the United States," said Dr. Ira Lamster, dean of the School of Dental and Oral Surgery at Columbia. "Dr. Krol's recent appointment will not only allow us to build upon our tradition of excellence in this area--and to strengthen one of our most fundamental missions as an institution--but will also enable us to forge collaborations and enhance relationships with our medical school and other national health organizations, furthering the cause of fully integrated, community-based oral health care on a much wider scale."

Under the auspices of his fellowship, which will begin next month and last two years, Dr. Krol also will attempt to engage pediatricians and family practitioners to advocate on behalf of Medicaid dental program improvements-and will work at the grassroots level to incorporate oral health education into pediatric residency training programs at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

Since its inception in 1852 and its incorporation into Columbia University in 1917, the School of Dental and Oral Surgery (SDOS) has vigorously pursued its commitment to education, patient care, and research. SDOS established the first formal specialty education program in orthodontics in the 1920s. SDOS went on to establish programs in periodontics, endodontics, oral/maxillofacial surgery, prosthodontics, and pediatric dentistry. SDOS provides general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, and other clinical services to many members of the community through its faculty practices, postgraduate and specialty practices, and pre-doctoral clinic. SDOS encourages and supports all forms of academic research efforts that have direct impact on improving oral health by fostering participation in research and training students in current research methodologies.

The Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP) is a non-profit organization established in 1997 to assist policy-makers, healthcare providers, advocates, and parents improve children's oral health and increase their access to dental care. To accomplish this, CDHP focuses on Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, increasing the availability of pediatric dentists, documenting children's oral health disparities, and engaging communities to promote children's oral health.

The Open Society Institute (OSI), part of a worldwide network of charitable organizations created and funded by noted philanthropist George Soros, is a private grant-making foundation that, among other things, promotes public interest and service values in medicine; assists marginalized groups around the world; and supports social entrepreneurs in the creation of public interest projects that will enrich and empower underserved communities. OSI's U.S. programs encourage activity in a number of important areas, including drug policy reform, inner-city youth programs, reproductive health and choice, and improved care of the dying.

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