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Exploring the Role of Oral Health in Patient and Population Health

Dr. Brenda Heaton giving a presentation
Dr. Brenda Heaton, Associate Dean for Research, presented on the importance of oral health in key health studies, such as reproductive health and heart disease.

Research Day 2024 was held on April 23 at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. The Offices of Research and Education successfully put together an event that highlighted the importance and value of combining research and clinical practice through the Pathways Program. Dr. Brenda Heaton shared an impactful keynote, "Seeing Beyond the Chair: The role of oral health care in shaping patient and population health." In the address she described:

  • The historical challenges faced in providing equitable oral health care,
  • How research is helping to reshape attitudes toward oral health and oral health care delivery, and 
  • The importance of "seeing beyond the chair."

In her final comments, Heaton posed the question, “How do we keep history from getting in the way of our efforts to improve patient and population oral health?” Her answer, “See beyond the chair.” According to Heaton, “When you see beyond the mouth looking up from the chair, you see a person, you see cultural and social norms, you see the potential impact of your clinical choices on not only a person, but on populations of people.” She concluded her remarks with the following message of hope and inspiration. 

Following the keynote address, several pathway students from periodontics and prosthodontics presented some of their complex cases which showcased the School of Dentistry's robust clinical enterprise and our compassionate, responsive patient care.

In addition to the oral presentations, there were several excellent student and faculty posters. We are already planning for next year, and we look forward to this event growing in future years! 

Dental students presenting their research
An outline of Dr. Heaton's presentation
Students presenting their research poster
A group image of students and faculty standing near a research poster