B. Community Oral Health Research
Another responsibility of oral health stakeholders
is the development of new knowledge and the refinement of existing
Stakeholders at the community level are in a unique position
to bridge the gap between the development and application
of knowledge, and therefore, have a special role to play in research.
Research Opportunities and Benefits
Local public oral health
programs often have both process and outcome data and a community
perspective that would
greatly benefit others
if the information were published or placed in the public
domain. At the local level, there is limited data and little
research in the literature. Therefore, it is critical to
Research-related activities can generate many
different types of benefits, including promoting program visibility;
resources, understanding, and support from local and state
oral health organizations; and enhancing or sustaining
community organizations, funding sources, governing bodies,
2. Conducting Research
In conducting research, the first step is to consider
the purpose of the research. Will results improve access, availability,
or utilization of care? Who are the intended audiences?
of data is needed, and how can it be collected? What
are available to properly analyze and present findings?
How will findings be accepted and used? It is important
involvement in research activities is consistent with
program interests and
the program population and that evaluation design is
focused on improving oral health in the community.
It is useful to obtain help in conducting research.
Dental schools may be a good resource. A list is
available from the International
Association for Dental Research/American
Association for Dental Research,
which also has information about sources
of support for oral health
research and a searchable database of research