Improving Oral Health Outcomes

In addition to community rotations, volunteer outreach, and hosting the National Dental Practice Based Research Network (NDPBRN), UAB School of Dentistry advances oral health through a number of local, community-based, and global initiatives. Often partnering with UAB Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Optometry, Public Health, and the Health Professions, we are also active in a variety of oral health coalitions whose purpose is to improve oral health outcomes for the citizens of the Birmingham area and all of Alabama -- and beyond.

Community-Based Grants, Contracts, and Partnerships

UAB School of Dentistry has a number of community-based grants, contracts, and partnerships that enhance our state and local outreach. Examples of these outreach activities include:

  • Training Future Dentists to Care for Alabama's Underserved Children. UAB’s Pediatric Dentistry HRSA funding, “Training Future Dentists to Care for Alabama’s Underserved Children from 0-5 Years of Age,” enhances clinical pediatric predoctoral dental training for children 0-5 years of age through didactic courses, interprofessional simulation training, and live patient clinical experiences. collaboration with three community-based training sites, including a dental and Women Infant Children (WIC) clinic in a county public health department, a primary care FQHC in rural Alabama, and a center at UAB providing care to children and adults with disabilities. These sites provide undergraduate dental students experience in treating young children from minority, rural and developmentally disabled populations. This targeted training will better prepare students to practice in Alabama, where 41% of the population is rural, 27% of children live below the poverty level and all but two counties in the State are designated a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area (DHPSA).
  • Oral Health Training, Screening and Treatment. We have incorporated multi-disciplinary oral health training, screening, and treatement coordination within our prevention activities and have developed an interprofessional training program between the UAB Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Optometry, and Health Professions. This partnership remains strong and the enriching interprofessional activiteis continue each year.
  • Delivering Care in Talladega and Tuscaloosa Counties. We have agreements with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf & Blind in Talladega, AL and with the Alabama Department of Public Health, which supports the provision of services in Tuscaloosa County Health Department’s dental clinic, providing coverage for an attending dentist and resident to travel/deliver dental care to patients one day per week at each site.
  • Enhancing Alabama's Oral Health Workforce. UAB School of Dentistry (SOD) entered into a partnership with the Alabama Dental Association (ALDA) to provide incentive funding to recently graduated dentists willing to locate in a rural or underserved areas of the state,provide dental treatment for Medicaid beneficiaties, and maintain practice in such locations for at least 4 year. This UAB SOD/ALDA partnership has resulted in positive outcomes at the state level, with funding having been allocated to support this program. Its main objective is to entice young dentists to practice in small communities to insure that access to dental care will contine to be available in rural Alabama in the future as a result of the state legislature, organized dentistry, and UAB School of Dentistry.

UAB School of Dentistry is also involved in other areas of service in primary, secondary, and tertiary care. These include:

  • Special Needs Patients: We provide dental services to patients with special needs at the Sparks Center Dental Clinic and through the Children's Rehabilitation Services of Alabama. We also serve as a referral source for dental care to children and adults with developmental disabilities from area group homes.
  • Medically Compromised Patients: Consultation and dental services for severely medically compromised inpatients at University Hospital are provided through our Hospital Dental Residency Program. Prosthodontic dental services for those with brain and spinal cord injuries and loss of facial parts due to trauma or cancer are provided through Spain Rehabilitation.

Global Outreach Through International Ties

Our faculty serve on the UAB International Education Committee and the Global and Community Health Outreach project in collaboration with the UAB School of Public Health. In addition, UAB School of Dentistry has affiliation agreements with six dental schools in other countries to provide collaboration in education. There are active student exchange/visiting programs with two universities in Japan and one in France. Various groups within the school also participate in service and teaching by providing dental care to children and adults in developing countries.