Dental Safety Net in Iowa funds renewed by DentaQuest Foundation


DentaQuest Foundation announced that the University of Iowa Public Policy Center will be funded for its competitive renewal entitled “Access to dental care and the oral health safety net: An assessment of the public and private delivery systems and collaborative options for improvement”, aka Dental Safety Net in Iowa (DSNI). Staff participating in the grant include: Peter Damiano (PI), Raymond Kuthy, Susan McKernan, and Natoshia Askelson. They will be assisted by two graduate research assistants: Julie Reynolds and Simi Mani.

This second year will involve increasing the value of the data collected during the initial year (i.e., private and public dental provider capacity), as well as developing new activities to better understand the implication of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation and other related changes to the oral health delivery system and the most vulnerable patients affected by these changes. DentaQuest has funded the PPC at $187,420.

The primary goals for this second year of funding are: (1) complete analyses and disseminate findings from previously funded activities related to Medicaid participation and safety net capacity; (2) facilitate the formulation of policy based on research evidence that will have an impact on improving access to oral health care; and (3) begin to build an evidence-based approach in the development of a Dental Home.

The researchers’ plan is to construct a multi-year project that improves efforts in addressing oral health access; thus, the investigators are clearly identifying dental care as a cornerstone of this project. The PPC staff is using a purposeful approach with incremental steps that are essential to increase access and reduce oral health disparities among populations. The longer view is to study and write about a state model (Iowa) that can be used elsewhere. The nearer term goal, however, is to initiate efforts to develop an evidence-based approach in defining and monitoring a dental home.

Peter Damiano, PPC Director is excited about the prospects for this project. “We are most hopeful that our efforts will not only establish a baseline prior to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but it will lead to improved access to dental care, improved dialogue with our medical colleagues, and set the framework for establishing a suitable metric for improving oral health”.