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Publications > Academic Bulletin > Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion

Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion

Chair: Ralph V. Katz, DMD, MPH, PhD, Professor

Overview
The Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, created in June 2000, in addition to its major focus on scholarship and research activities, provides educational courses and programs at all levels of education provided by NYU, ranging from the baccalaureate undergraduate liberal arts level, to the professional school level , and to the graduate school level via its MS program.

The department has nine full-time faculty members, including six epidemiologists who focus on the study of oral diseases as well as three biostatisticians who provide statistical support for the College of Dentistry with its College of Nursing. Additionally, the department has eight part-time faculty members who support both teaching and research activities. Currently the department has six Postdoctoral Fellows (3 pursuing PhDs in epidemiology, Postdoctoral Fellows nine graduate students. Over the past decade , the Departmental faculty has been highly active in a variety of oral health research projects having received a total of $51m in grant awards (with $25m as Principal Investigators and $26m in major co-investigator roles) on studies ranging across the full gamut of epidemiological study types from observational to experimental epidemiological studies, including randomized clinical trials. From 2001-2009, the Department housed the NYU Oral Cancer RAAHP* Center (* = Research on Adolescent and Adult Health Promotion), an $8.3m NIDCR/NIH U54 Oral Health Disparities Research Center.

Over the first decade of research in the Department, topics have included: oral cancer, geriatrics, oral-systemic disease relationships, and health disparities research as well a studies addressing methodological issues related to the conducting of epidemiologic research. Specific research studies include: exposure to risk factors, early diagnosis, screening behaviors, smoking cessation RCT, smokeless tobacco exposure in South Asian immigrants, patient and professional attitudes and practices related to oral cancer, comparative oral cancer diagnostic techniques, exploration of the impact of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on the willingness of minorities to participate in biomedical studies, diabetes and oral health, parity and oral health, access to dental care for low income women, oral neglect in institutionalized elders, access to oral health care for community-based elders, detecting elder abuse in dental practices, effect of malnutrition on oral health in Haiti, prevalence of Noma in Haiti, and oral health knowledge and beliefs in rural Haiti, oral health of the elderly in Denmark, gestational diabetes and oral health in Thailand, and the oral health of immigrant populations in New York City.

Educationally, at the undergraduate liberal arts level at NYU, departmental faculty annually teach courses to freshman students in Freshman College Honor Seminar Series offered by the College of Arts and Science (CAS) at NYU. Over the past 8 years the following 4 courses have been taught in the CAS by Departmental faculty: 1) Ethics, Pointillism, Epidemiology and Epistemology: EPEE dueling with health science information; 2) Embracing Race....or Erasing Race: a consideration of Black & White issues in the U.S.; 3) Making Choices in Contemporary America: Dedication, Deals, and Deception; and 4) Mapping Tuskegee: A Case Study of Racism and Bioethics.

The Department's four-year undergraduate dental school curriculum focuses on epidemiology, critical thinking, Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL), health promotion, public health policy, international public health, bioethics, professionalism and diversity issues. At the graduate level, the department has two degree-related programs: 1) an MS in Clinical Research program which offers a two-year full-time MS, or a one-year full-time Certificate, in Clinical Research to a broad array of post-baccalaureate students, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and CRAs from industry as well as dentists and dental hygienists; and 2) an MPH in Global Public Health program with an concentration in oral health that prepares dentists and other oral health professionals for careers in public health service, policy and research. The MS in Clinical Research degree program (2 years full-time or up to 4 years part-time) and the Certificate in Clinical Research Program (1 year full-time, or 2 years part-time) were begun in 2001 and are fully taught within the NYU College of Dentistry. The curriculum for the 2 year, full-time MPH in Global Health program is a University offered degree with courses being offered by five NYU schools/colleges: the College of Dentistry, the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, the School of Public Service, the School of Social work, and the School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

Predoctoral Curriculum
First Year
Application of Technology in Health and Health Practice
This Fall Semester course helps students to become skilled managers of information in a dental setting. Students learn how to access information and become astute in evaluating that information. Students have a better understanding of the use of evidence and information in clinical decision making and learn how to frame the parameters of a clinical inquiry. Students gain foundation knowledge in basic Internet skills, word processing, presentation software, and bibliographic database searching as well as technology-based functions that enhance the activities in dental practice.

Epidemiology and Critical Thinking in the Practice of Dentistry
This Fall Semester 40 hour course, the core foundation course in the epidemiology and health promotion curriculum, introduces the student to the fundamental elements of epidemiology and epidemiological thinking as well as to the current epidemiologic knowledge about the major oral diseases. The latter half of this course initiates development of student skills in assessing the professional literature (SAPL) as it relates to the practice of dentistry. Overall, this course provides a basic knowledge about epidemiology as well as an understanding of epidemiological reasoning. It serves as the base course for three subsequent 'direct application courses for dental practitioners' that follow in the Spring Semester: 1) Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL); 2) Public Policy for the Practice of Dentistry; and 3) Global Oral Health Issues for Dental Practitioner.

Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL D1)
This 20 hour Spring Semester course provides for a direct application of the epidemiologic knowledge and understanding initially acquired in the Epidemiology and Critical Thinking in the Practice of Dentistry course toward the purpose of being able to insightfully read and interpret clinically-relevant, original research articles for making patient care decisions. The course primarily consists of discussion sessions based on assigned readings as analyzed using the Literature Analysis Form (LAF). The 4-hour final examination in this course, the application of the Literature Analysis Form to an article from the dental literature, also serves as the benchmark of competency as regards SAPL skills in assessing the professional literature.

Public Policy for the Practice of Dentistry
This 12 hour Spring Semester course explores issues in public policy as it relates to general health as well as oral health. It is directed to answer the question: what does every dentist need to know about public policy? This course will focus at the level of a dentist's private practice and choices s/he may have in facilitating access. The course will also review issues of public policy at the level of the community, the state, and nationally.

Global Oral Health Issues for Dental Practitioners
This 6 hour Spring Semester course is intended both to provide inform about oral health issues and research in developing nations around the world and to inform students of pathways for private practitioners to become involved in providing oral health care in these developing nations, usually as short-term volunteers. The format will use a series of lectures with accompanying readings, each highlighting a different oral health issue in a given developing country.

Dentistry as a Science and Profession
Dental students enter the dental profession as they begin their four-year dental education. This course provides a context for the profession by presenting the history of the profession, the structure of the profession, and contemporary issues of importance to the profession. Students explore an issue of their choice and discover facts about it, the nature of the challenge it presents to the profession, and prepare a synopsis. Selected groups are asked to share their findings with the class. In addition, a symposium during the course provides students with the career path of three dentists who have developed careers other than private practice. This course coordinates with the following courses: freshman-Foundation of Professional Ethics; sophomore: Diversity, Attitudes, and Health Beliefs; and sophomore, junior, and senior-Case Studies and Seminars in Professional Ethics.

Ethical Foundation of Dentistry
This course provides the foundation for professional ethics. It defines the five principles of ethics that are valued in the profession and establishes a framework for the discussion of ethical dilemmas. An important part of the course is the NYUCD Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct as a guide for professional life as a dental student. In addition students are guided in the resolution of ethical dilemmas with a hierarchical structure of central values. The book Dental Ethics at Chairside serves as a guide for developing important concepts in professional ethics and their application. During the course, students explores ethical dilemmas faced during their dental education, personal dilemmas, as well as dilemmas commonly encountered by health care professionals in practice. The course seeks to raise students' awareness about dentistry as a profession, the role of professions in society, and the societal dialogue about the ethics of health care professions. The ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct, ethical obligations of members of the College of Dentistry community, and other documents are used as resources in this course.

Second Year

Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL) D2
This 6 hour D2 course spans both the Fall and Spring Semesters and provides reinforcement and continued use of the SAPL skills acquired in the D1 foundation SAPL course. The goal is to maintain the SAPL Competency Skill level established in the first year that allows students to insightfully read and interpret clinically-relevant, original research articles for making patient care decisions. The course primarily consists of discussion sessions based on assigned readings as analyzed using the Literature Analysis Form (LAF).

Diversity, Attitude, and Health Beliefs
The impact of factors such as ethnicity, cultural, gender, and sexual orientation on attitudes toward health and health care decision making is well documented. Health beliefs are a fundamental part of the promotion and prevention as well as on access and the demand for care. The rapidly changing demographics of the country, and the importance of health promotion to the well-being of the public, are an incentive for health care practitioners to become knowledgeable and sensitive to these factors because they have an impact on a patient's health-related behaviors. To be mindful of our obligation to serve the public, the existence of health disparities is further reason for dentists to understand every significant factor that alters the outcome of health promotion strategies and therapies that we provide. The goal of this course is to provide a spectrum of "diversity." This includes both a definition of the range of diversity as well as insight into examples of how diversity has an impact on health beliefs. During the course, using readings, videotapes, and other methods, we explore the unique qualities of several of the major groups that are part of the population of New York City. In addition, students are challenged to explore their own differences and become increasingly sensitive to the values and beliefs of other groups.

Case Study and Seminars in Ethics
This course continues the study of professional ethics that was initiated in freshman year and provides additional opportunities to apply principles of ethics to dilemmas and develop solutions in a collegial manner. Together, these courses complete the foundation knowledge needed for reflection on ethical issues. In addition, through interaction with peers, faculty, and experienced practitioners, students continue to explore the resolution of ethical dilemmas and come to a consensus with their peers. During the course, students are provided with further information, refinement, and examples of common ethical dilemmas faced by student dentists and practitioners in clinical practice.

The course reinforces a model for ethical reflection that is widely advocated within the profession. The concept of the Central Values of Practice, ethical principles valued by the profession, and the Code of Ethics of component societies are introduced and developed. Students work in small groups to come to a consensus around a case description. One period is facilitated by guest dentists with experience in resolution of ethical dilemmas encountered in private practice.

Third Year

Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL) D3
This 6 hour D3 course spans both the Fall and Spring Semesters and provides reinforcement and continued use of the SAPL skills acquired in the D1 and D2 SAPL courses. The goal is to maintain the SAPL Competency Skill level established in the first two years that allows students to insightfully read and interpret clinically-relevant, original research articles for making patient care decisions. The course primarily consists of discussion sessions based on assigned readings as analyzed using the Literature Analysis Form (LAF).

Seminars in Ethics
This course is the third in the sequence of courses devoted to explore professional ethics and standards of professionalism. The student by the junior year has a firm foundation in the principles of professional ethics and experience in making application of them. This course is devoted to turning from case histories constructed from others and gain experiences from junior-year students in their own clinical experience. In addition, the course examines the peer review system used in the profession to resolve conflicts, the role of the State Board of Dentistry through the Office of Professional Discipline in attempting to protect the public from incompetent practitioners, and the role of the legal system in relation to the profession. During this course, students are introduced to each element in these three major categories. By the end of this course, it is expected that each student can demonstrate his or her competency to label ethical dilemmas and determine if an ethical principle applies to it as well as demonstrate independent knowledge about the mechanisms to assist the dentist and the public in providing and receiving oral health care that meets the professionally determined standard of care and means to resolve conflict that arises between patients and care providers.

Fourth Year

Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL) D4
This 6 hour D4 course spans both the Fall and Spring Semesters and provides reinforcement and continued use of the SAPL skills acquired in the D1, D2 and D3 SAPL courses. The goal is to maintain the SAPL Competency Skill level established in the first three years that allows students to insightfully read and interpret clinically-relevant, original research articles for making patient care decisions. The course primarily consists of discussion sessions based on assigned readings as analyzed using the Literature Analysis Form (LAF).

Case Studies in Ethics
This course continues the study of professional ethics that was initiated in freshman through junior years and provides additional opportunities to apply principles of ethics to dilemmas and develop solutions in a collegial manner.

For a list of faculty, mission statement and overview, see:
http://www.nyu.edu/dental/department/epidemiology/index.html

To browse the website for the NYU Oral Cancer RAAHP* Center (* = Research on Adolescent and Adults Health Promotion), an NIDCR/NIH U54 Oral Health Disparities Research Center for the history, organizational structure, research findings, and full set of published research articles from the $8.3m 8 year (2001-09) NIDCR/NIH U54 funded research center, see:

http://www.nyu.edu/dental/raahp/index.html