Improving Oral Health Outcomes

In addition to community rotations, volunteer outreach, and hosting the National Dental Practice Based Research Network (NDPBRN), the UAB School of Dentistry advances oral health through other local 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

The School of Dentistry has a number of community-based grants and contracts that support our state and local outreach efforts. Examples are:

  • 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 (i) a dental and Women Infant Children (WIC) clinic in a county public health department, (ii) a primary care FQHC in rural Alabama, and (iii) 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).
  • A $150,000 DentaQuest Foundation grant was awarded to UAB Dentistry to infuse multi-disciplinary oral health training, screening and treatment coordination into our existing prevention activities and develop an inter-professional training program between Dentistry and the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Optometry and Health Professions. This partnership and inter-professional activity continues each year.
  • Agreements with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf & Blind in Talladega, AL and with the Alabama Department of Public Health, which support the provision of services in Tuscaloosa County Health Department’s dental clinic, provide coverage for an attending dentist and resident to travel/deliver dental care to patients one day per week.
  • A HRSA $500,000 Grant titled, “Alabama Oral Health Workforce.” The 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 area of the state, become a significant Medicaid provider and stay in the same location at least 4 years. The joint partnership between the SOD and ALDA established with this grant a new directive to address the looming shortage of dentists in small towns and rural areas of Alabama. State funded initiatives are being considered presently by the state legislature to perpetuate this program to insure access to dental care will continue to be available in rural Alabama in the future.

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

  • Special Needs Patients: The School helps to provide dental services to those with special needs at the Sparks Center Dental Clinic and through the Children's Rehabilitation Services of Alabama. The School also serves 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 the severely medically compromised inpatient 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, the School of Dentistry has affiliation agreements with six schools in other countries to provide collaboration in education. We have an active student exchange/visiting program with Japan and another with France, and we assist in providing dental care to children and adults from poor developing countries.