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Study Shows NPs Play Vital Role in Oral Health Care and Disparities

Maria Dolce, PhD, RN
Maria Dolce, PhD, RN

STONY BROOK, NY, December  18 , 2018 – A national survey of nurse practitioner (NP) training program educators, conducted by the Center for Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health (CIPCOH), reveals that a large majority of responders believe graduates’ level of oral health training and competence is at a high level, and therefore NPs are vital and integral to oral health care practices. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Lead investigator Maria Dolce, PhD, RN, an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University School of Nursing, says the findings “hold promise for addressing the gap in access to oral health care and eliminating disparities in the United States.” Since 2000, when the U.S. Surgeon General called for increased awareness of the importance of oral health to overall health, efforts to bring oral health into primary care training in nursing and other health professions have steadily increased. Most (86 percent) of the responding NP programs indicate that oral health is integrated in their curriculum.

The study is one of several that examine primary care training programs and oral health care competency by CIPCOH and partnering institutions, including Stony Brook University, Harvard University School of Medicine and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. For more information about the study, see this press release.

Professor Dolce’s overall research is related to the integration of oral health into interdisciplinary health sciences education and primary care practice settings.

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 25,700 students, 2,500 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S.News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

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