Children's Global Oral Health Initiative: An Adaptable Interdisciplinary Model for Chronic Health Care Management and Health Promotion

Columbia Global Centers | Africa
Additional locations: 
Beijing (2015) and Amman (2016)

Children's Global Oral Health Initiative: An Adaptable Interdisciplinary Model for Chronic Health Care Management and Health Promotion

  • Stephen Nicholas, Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health at CUMC, College of Physicians and Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health
  • Kavita P. Ahluwalia, Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry at CUMC

Stephen Nicholas

Kavita P. Ahluwalia
The Children’s Global Oral Health Initiative, a collaborative effort of the College of Dental Medicine (CDM), Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH), College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) and the School of Nursing (SON), was funded by the President’s Global Innovation Fund in 2014 to promote interdisciplinary collaborations using tele-dentistry to address the oral health needs of children in Nairobi, Kenya.
 
Given the high need for oral health care, especially in rural areas; the inverse relationship between need and the availability of dentists; and the exigency of oral health funding in Kenya, we believe that our first step must be to heighten the visibility of oral health, advocating for its inclusion and integration as a robust and financially supported component within Kenya’s and the region’s public health system.
 
Additionally, we seek to influence the broad spectrum of health care, all of which potentially plays a role in the improvement of oral health, by using lessons learned at multiple levels but starting at the community level of the Kenyan health care system to influence the formulation of policy at the regional, national, and local levels. Lessons learned in Kenya are likely to influence policies made in its neighboring countries in East Africa as well as in other resource-constrained areas of the world. In an effort to inform both rural and urban policy will focus these efforts on rural and urban populations in Kitui District and Nairobi respectively.
 
  • Host an East Africa Regional Oral Health Summit in early 2016 to heighten awareness of how under-recognized and yet critically important oral health issues are.
  • Pilot a community-based oral health demonstration projects designed to inform local and national. 
  • Facilitate cross-national transfer of knowledge through eight week student summer work that is conducted by interdisciplinary teams that include students from CUMC schools and University of Nairobi schools. 
  • Capacity building efforts directed at strengthening research readiness among partners in Kenya.
Slideshow
The Children’s Global Oral Health Initiative has launched a teledentistry project in Kenya, the first of its kind by a U.S. dental school.
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