Many Canadians suffer from dental pain and infection, tooth loss, and ill-fitting dentures, but have inadequate access to dental care and the means to pay for it. In addition, there is still poor understanding on how oral health problems can cause systemic disease. Consequently, there is a need to know the best treatments, guidelines and policies to improve Canada's oral health.
Indeed, individual, community and population oral health is defined by a combination of biological, behavioral, environmental and social factors. Collaborative research can help to address these interconnected issues, using multilevel analyses to understand the complex realities of oral disease and oral health disparity.
Dr. Emami, a clinician-scientist, has developed an interdisciplinary oral health research program dedicated to improving the oral health of the Canadian nation. The program focuses on three specific themes: 1) Intervention: to test prosthetic treatments to improve oral health and quality-of-life of toothless people; 2) Access: to determine social and distance barriers in access to dental care services; and 3) Impact: to establish how poor oral health can affect general health. Appropriate communication tools summarizing the research knowledge will be transmitted to the people who will benefit from it: the public, health professionals and policy-makers.
A major strength of Emami's research program lies in the partnerships she has forged with communities, policy-makers, dentists, doctors and researchers who are experts in epidemiology, sleep, population health, primary care, rural and remote health services, and oral health research. These solid partnerships will enhance capacity for oral health research and will develop training opportunities for new interdisciplinary clinician-scientists, so that such work can grow and continue into the future.