Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Aparna Ingleshwar

written by Namrata Surendrenath

Aparna Shivanand Ingleshwar, Public Policy Center senior predoctoral research fellow, was awarded first place for the 2022 Leverett Graduate Student Merit Award by the American Association of Public Health Dentistry for Outstanding Achievement in Dental Public Health. The award was based on her doctoral dissertation research project titled, "Examining Impact of ACA's Medicaid Expansion on Dental Out-of-Pocket Spending among Extensive Benefits States."

Ingleshwar examined the impact of states' Medicaid expansions on out-of-pocket dental care spending for states that provided extensive dental benefits, and compared them to non-expansion states that mostly provided limited or emergency-only benefits.

The research found that on average, a larger proportion of adults in expansion states with extensive benefits reported zero dollars in out-of-pocket dental spending, compared to those in non-expansion states. A difference-in-difference (DID) analysis revealed that states that provided extensive benefits and expanded Medicaid were significantly less likely to incur out-of-pocket spending in the first two years of expansion implementation. Thus, Ingleshwar concluded, "states that expand Medicaid eligibility and provide comprehensive coverage can effectively reduce cost barriers to dental care for low-income adults who don't have the means to pay out of pocket."

The Leverett Award is based on the following criteria: originality and design of the project, description of results and conclusions, quality of the results from the project, scientific value of the project, Dental Public Health value of the project, quality of the project presentation, and demonstrated mastery of the subject. The recognition ceremony took place in April, and Ingleshwar was formally presented the award at the 2022 National Oral Health Conference, held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ingleshwar is a senior predoctoral research fellow in the Health Policy Program at the PPC and earned her PhD in Oral Science in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry. Her research interests surround oral health policy, dental health care economics, and trends and disparities in the utilization of dental services. She completed an MPH and Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas.