Featured Scholar : Gerardo Maupomé, BDS, MSc, DDPH RCS(E), PhD
Department of Cariology, Operative Dentistry and Dental Public Health
IU School of Dentistry
Oral health disparities in the Latino community are often linked to lifestyle, socio-economic position, and structural barriers in healthcare systems. However, it is increasingly recognized that individuals rely on professional and informal social networks to understand and address their health problems. Social norms inherent within these networks can shape oral health-related decision-making. Network members can offer support, recommend or provide services, influence health behaviors, and encourage or discourage adherence to treatment regimes. To address this gap in knowledge, Dr. Gerardo Maupomé examines the link between oral health disparities and social networks.
Building on prior and formative research, Dr. Maupomé and colleagues are using network methods to gain an insight into the complex and dynamic mechanisms underlying oral health disparities. First, they identify customs, attitudes, and behaviors around dental care and oral health. Second, they apply this information to characterize the relationships between the diverse strands of interpersonal networks and behaviors. The research will produce innovative methodological knowledge about quantifying how personal networks change over time, and how such evolution support or undermine positive oral health traits in an at-risk population. The ultimate goal is to devise actionable strategies and identify entry points into networks that lead to positive changes.
Dr. Maupomé’s work to reduce disparities in oral health is another example of how IUPUI faculty are TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.