Student Spotlight: Jennifer Sukalski

photo of Sukalski
From Algona, Iowa, Jen Sukalski is a PhD candidate in oral science interested in access to care and health disparities. After completing her Master's in dental public health in 2017 under the guidance of Dr. Susan McKernan, she continues their working relationship with the PhD.

"As a dental hygienist, I observed the challenges and barriers to care patients face on a daily basis. This led my current research project, exploring the role of perceived social status on oral health outcomes. I am also involved in the educational aspect of dentistry, both education of patients and the oral health workforce members. I am currently involved on a project with Dr. Natoshia Askelson and Dr. Susan McKernan of the Public Policy Center, developing an educational intervention program for dental offices to educate, recommend, and refer HPV vaccinations to help increase vaccination rates in the state of Iowa. I am also working with Dr. McKernan and Dr. Donald Chi on an evaluation of pre-doctoral Dental Public Health curricula to determine how pre-doctoral students are being taught core Dental Public Health competencies.

In a perfect world, I would be to continue both educational and research career paths. Every day is something interesting and different!"

Fun Fact: "Even though I love the smell of coffee, I hate the taste. Diet Coke for me!"