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URMC / Eastman Institute for Oral Health / Word of Mouth / September 2017 / Eastman Institute Awarded $1 Million from HRSA for Innovative Project

Eastman Institute Awarded $1 Million from HRSA for Innovative Project

Dr. Linda RasubalaAn assistant professor at UR Medicine’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health was recently awarded $1 million from the federal government to pioneer and implement a training program centered on primary dental care for underserved populations using an Inter-Professional Primary Care (IPC) approach.

In the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Service Administration’s (HRSA) effort to help transform health care in innovative ways, it awarded five-year Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry Clinician Educator Career Development Awards, six of them to dentistry.  The awards allow a single primary care educator per institution to benefit from five years of training and education development.

Linda Rasubala, DDS, PhD, assistant director of Eastman Institute’s urgent dental clinic, has already begun work on her winning proposal for this very competitive and prestigious award. She is developing a competency-based training curriculum in dental urgent care for Advanced Education in General Dentistry and General Practice Residency residents that directs patients into primary dental and/or medical care.

“At our urgent care clinic, we see thousands of patients who do not see a dentist or physician regularly,” explained Dr. Rasubala. “About 70 percent of patients in pain who go to a dental emergency clinic have not attended any preventive or maintenance dental care in the previous two years, compared to about 11 percent of all patients in pain who go to a dentist in private practice.”

This high frequency of dental emergency visits, which usually affects low income or underserved populations, often without insurance or with limited access to dental care, dictate that diagnosis and management of dental diseases associated with acute dental pain should be an important component of a competency-based curriculum in dental education. As part of this grant, Dr. Rasubala will develop this curriculum, which will serve as the starting point for teaching Inter-professional Primary Care.

The primary care education she develops will emphasize vulnerable populations and will help integrate oral health in the larger health care system. The educational programs and training materials produced will assist in establishing sustainable continuum model that integrates oral health and primary medical care.

letter from L SlaughterThe project’s long-term goal is to develop a role model, expert and leader in oral health Inter- Professional Primary Care focusing on disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. This will lead to a continuum of care model that will improve access to primary care for dental urgent care patients. All of Dr. Rasubala’s efforts will encompass dentistry and medicine.

“Dr. Rasubala has years of experience observing the complexities of access to care in dental emergency patients that highlight the relationship between the medical risks and social costs for patients lacking quality inter professional care,” said Dr. Eli Eliav, director, UR Medicine’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health. “We’re delighted HRSA recognized her leadership and potential to make a significant difference in this area.”



Karen Black | 9/15/2017

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