Core Research Area

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry is a worldwide and national leader in dental public health. Within this broader field, research focuses on barriers preventing (and related supports for)  underserved populations including low-income children, older adults, and persons with special needs due to developmental disabilities or medical illnesses. Researchers also study environmental and dietary effects on oral health through longitudinal studies.


Steve Levy

Iowa Dentistry Contributes to Groundbreaking Research Aimed at Reducing Childhood Tooth Decay

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Iowa Dentistry played a significant role in a major clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) that has yielded promising results in the fight against childhood tooth decay.
Julie Reynolds

NIH awards dental faculty a grant to investigate the impact of adult Medicaid coverage on children

Thursday, September 21, 2023
Julie Reynolds, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, received a $300,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study changes in Medicaid adult dental coverage and impact that these changes have on children's access to care.
Steve Levy

NIH awards subcontract to Iowa Dentistry researchers

Thursday, June 15, 2023
The University of Iowa was one of four research institutions, along with Michigan, Duke, and Indiana, collaborating on a newly-funded National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)/ National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant investigating the causes and implications of adolescent tooth decay, especially among underserved populations.
Julie Reynolds and Jennifer Hartshorn with Pamela Nwachukwu

New Frontiers in Teledentistry

Thursday, April 20, 2023
A team of University of Iowa oral health researchers and dental providers at the Community Health Centers of Southeastern Iowa teamed up to deliver and assess the effectiveness of teledentistry in a nursing home setting.
Steve Levy

NIH awards grant to Iowa dental faculty

Thursday, August 25, 2022
The National Institutes of Health awarded Steven Levy and his research team a $325K grant to identify factors that are associated with improved oral health-related quality of life through early adulthood among those who participated in the Iowa Fluoride Study. This is the first study that will make predictions about oral-health related quality of life based on longitudinal data.
Jason Semprini

NIH awards Semprini Training Grant for Oral Cancer Project

Thursday, June 16, 2022
Jason Semprini, a T90 trainee in Iowa Institute of Oral Health Research and a Ph.D. student in the College of Public Health, was awarded a F31 grant—a training grant for mentored dissertation research for his project, Evaluating the Impact of Medicaid Dental Coverage on Early-Stage Oral Cancer Detection.
Jennifer Sukalski discussing her research with Susan McKernan

Improving Dental Outcomes for Underserved Populations

Thursday, December 16, 2021
After working as a dental hygienist for several years, PhD candidate Jennifer Sukalski began pursuing health disparities research on access and use of dental care in Iowa. Her research looks at barriers to dental care in a holistic manner taking into account perceived social status.
Xi Chen and his research team

Incorporating Dental Care into Palliative Care

Thursday, December 9, 2021
Palliative care is a specialized form of health care that attempts to meet the needs of the whole patient, taking into account each patient’s values and goals to make informed decisions about managing pain and treatments. Xi Chen is bringing insights about palliative care to dentistry, focusing on improving oral health awareness, relieving pain, and helping a patient live as well as possible for the rest of their life.
Patient-Centered Dental Home (PCDH) Quality Indicators Clearinghouse on a Computer

Patient-Centered Dental Home, Dental Quality Indicators Clearinghouse Release

Thursday, December 9, 2021
The University of Iowa Public Policy Center's Patient-Centered Dental Home project is designed to improve the organization and delivery of dental care in a variety of care settings and in an integrated manner with other health care services. As part of this project, the PPC developed an interactive, online PCDH Clearinghouse of approximately 500 oral health quality measures and standards, which is now available.
Leo Marchini

Leonardo Marchini Receives Grant to Support Final Development of Ageism Evaluation Tool

Friday, July 9, 2021
The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation awarded Dr. Leonardo Marchini a grant to support the final step in the development of a tool to measure the degree of ageism among dental students. The tool will be used to develop and evaluate specific strategies for addressing ageism among dental students with the goal of improving the oral health of older adults.