The Future Is Interdisciplinary
Partnering for Health in Nicaragua

Dr. Kelley Newlin (second from left) in Nicaragua with her collaborators, from left: Helen Taylor, a Nicaraguan church-based clinic nurse; Dr. Aura Caldera of NYU College of Dentistry; Rachel Hill, Program Administrator in the Office of International Initiatives & Development; and Sylvia Byers, a Nicaraguan church-based clinic nurse.

Nursing Professor Kelley Newlin's research in Nicaragua has taken on a new dimension in concert with the College of Dentistry's Global Health Program. Thirty NYU general dentists, periodontists, and dental students, together with four nursing students, will travel to the country for one week each year, beginning in March 2011. The dental team will provide basic pediatric dental care to students age 12 and under in a primary school run by the Moravian Church, with which Dr. Newlin has an ongoing relationship. The project is based in Bluefields on the English-speaking east coast, which is populated predominantly by Miskito Indians and African-descending Creoles.

With periodontal disease a complication of diabetes, nursing and dental students will screen those adults with periodontal disease for pre-diabetes and diabetes, and, if needed, enroll them in the church-based, diabetes self-management program. Professor Gail D'Eramo Melkus will also contribute to the research component of this project, examining the relationships among periodontal disease, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.