A multi-disciplinary Center built on strong community partnerships is proposed at the University of Florida to foster research, dissemination of findings, and training on disparities in oral health. The initial theme of this Center is to reduce disparities in cancer survival by promoting early detection of oral and pharyngeal cancer (OPC) through two community-based theoretically-derived intervention projects. Community-based interventions built on strong theory are rare in oral health disparity research. A major strength of this application is the inclusion of an evidence base to support our research methodology. The first project will refine and upgrade health care providers'ability to detect early stages of OPC using evidence-based health education theory and the second will apply theoretically derived health promotion models to increase the likelihood that African American men obtain regular OPC screening exams. An R21-level project to validate a cellular biomarker related to susceptibility to squamous cell carcinoma is also proposed. The second theme of this Center is to apply community-based research principles gleaned from aforementioned work to follow-up projects that will address communities'oral health needs. One such R21-level developmental project will determine feasibility of conducting large scale preventive and treatment intervention in a well defined population of low-income minority children with aggressive periodontitis. It is expected that both R21-level projects will lead to full community-based interventions. This Center will facilitate oral health disparity research by 1) providing new resources through which multi-disciplinary teams jointly conduct targeted community-based intervention research;2) strengthening the partnerships among researchers, clinicians, and the community;and 3) developing a pipeline of oral health disparity researchers and leaders. Our longstanding partnerships enable us to disseminate the results of our research such that we influence the dental/medical community, community members/patients, and policymakers alike. As proposed, the Center will produce a synergistic force resulting in a measurable reduction of disparities in oral health among the underserved. Community partners include the Alachua County Organization for Rural Needs (ACORN, a clinic to serve low-income rural and minority patients), Florida state dental organizations, Department of Health, faith-based community organizations (ACTION network and 4A's), and Florida A&M University, a historically Black College/University. The research conducted by the Southeast Center for Research to Reduce Disparities in Oral Health (CRRDOH) will generate an evidence base that will affect public policy and will result in long term benefits for disadvantaged citizens.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDE1-MS (22))
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Nowjack-Raymer, Ruth
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University of Florida
Schools of Dentistry
United States
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