I am pleased to announce the formal establishment of the Oral Health Services Research Core in the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research and naming of its first director, Dr. Tegwyn Brickhouse. The core’s mission is to conduct oral health services research and partner in strategic initiatives with the university, health system, and community to improve and integrate oral health into overall health and healthcare. This is a critical area of research expertise that our school must develop to position ourselves for research and education in oral health services and public health dentistry. Hardly a week goes by that I am not contacted with inquiries on access to care, dental workforce, dental graduates career choices, oral disease statistics, and dental insurance. I am sure you have seen the headlines on the oral health crisis in America, doubling of hospital emergency department visits for dental problems, and declining dentist migration to rural and underserved areas. Adults appear to be seeking dental care at lower rates and only 50% of children with public support for dental care have seen a dentist in the past year.
The rising cost of dental education and the national average educational debt of $250,000 of graduating dental students have negatively impacted the distribution of dentists and are fueling the development of alternative providers and practice models. The Commission on Dental Accreditation recently announced it is implementing accreditation of Dental Therapy Programs. The 2016 Virginia General Assembly adopted a bill to expand remote supervision of dental hygienist beyond the Virginia Department Health and into certain venues to increase access to preventive care for underserved populations. The effectiveness of our current and future models of care delivery require ongoing study and assessment.
Over the past two years, Dr. Tegwyn Brickhouse and I have conducted meetings and conference calls with researchers, academic leaders, leaders in the insurance industry, leaders in government agencies, and political people to understand the need and to create a vision for this research core. There is so much that is needed to be learned regarding dental public health and dental services utilization, particularly in Virginia. Additional exploratory projects are underway with the Chesterfield County Schools Systems and the VCU Health System’s Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, VA to bring needed dental services to underserved individuals.
With VCU School of Dentistry the only dental school in Virginia, we must become experts in oral health services and disparities research. Dr. Brickhouse is being appointed full-time to lead the development of this initiative effective July 1, 2016 as a member of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Brickhouse will continue to serve as the Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry while we conduct a national search for a new department chair.
Dr. Brickhouse has served as department chair since 2010 and she led a number of key initiatives and has been recognized for her work. These include:
PI of HRSA grant for VCU to receive $2.4 million grant to increase dental care access for underserved children and adolescents and to improve inter-professional training for pediatric dentistry students
Founding Chair of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition, a state-wide non-profit which strives to:
Established a relationship with Children’s Hospital of Richmond and VCU’s pediatric dental program that led to integration of faculty support and resident patient care rotations at the Brook Road hospital practice.
Created the Pediatric Dentistry Board of Advisors and led the fund raising effort which resulted in the establishment of the Farrington Mourino Distinguished Professorship.
Serves as a member of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid) Dental Advisory Committee and established a data sharing agreement with DMAS to examine dental utilization in Virginia’s Medicaid program.
VCU Health’s representative to the Children’s Health Insurance Program Advisory Committee of Virginia (CHIPAC).
On-going collaborations with VDH Division of Dental Health related to their needs assessments, sealant programs, and courses for training dentists to treat patients with disabilities.
Chair for the Council of Scientific Affairs of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Jerome B. Miller For the Kids Award awarded by Healthy Smiles Healthy Children Foundation.
The Professional Achievement Award for Women in Dentistry, WISDM Virginia Commonwealth University.
Fellow of the Virginia Dental Association and Fellowship in the American College of Dentists
Served on the scientific advisory board of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, awarded Affiliate Site of the Year and received grant funded for five years to support community outreach and engagement.
VCU iCubed Program Trandisciplinary Core Team Member for Oral Health in Children and Adolescences
“Quote” from Sarah Bedard Holland-Executive Director of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition
“I applaud the VCU School of Dentistry for putting resources towards the oral health access issues and the future of oral health. VCU is uniquely suited to address issues related to access, disparities and workforce; the Coalition looks forward to working collectively with the school and Dr. Brickhouse to seek solutions to improve oral health for all Virginians. Dr. Brickhouse has a long-standing, demonstrated commitment to furthering evidence-based solutions to complex oral health access issues. She is the perfect fit to lead this new initiative.”
The cores’ activities will include: