Dr. Macdonald and co-investigators receive CIHR Priority Announcement operating grant

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Congratulations to Dr. Mary Ellen Macdonald and co-investigators Drs. Nicolau, Allison, Esfandiari, Ka, Bedos, Fried, Mcnally, Carnevale and Hovey on receiving a CIHR Priority Announcement operating grant of $100 000 for one year. The grant will be used to for their study The oral health and dental care pathways of humanitarian migrants.

There are over 15 million refugees and asylum seekers in the world. Each year, Canada welcomes about 25,000 of these humanitarian migrants. Studies indicate that the general health of humanitarian migrants is fragile, especially for those having lived through war, famine, poverty and after years spent in refugee camps. One area where health research has not yet developed for this population is oral health. According to the World Health Organization, there is an urgent need to develop research in this neglected area. Tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth loss, oral cancers, HIV/AIDS-related oral disease and dental trauma are major public health problems. Furthermore, research is increasingly demonstrating important connections among oral health, general health and quality of life (e.g., pain, disability, stigma, loss of taste and smell, inability to eat, smile or communicate). Many general diseases (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer) have oral manifestations which then in turn increase the risk of oral disease. Importantly, oral health follows a gradient of socioeconomic status (SES): those with the lowest SES demonstrate the worst oral health, least service use, and poorest treatment adherence. This study is designed to better understand the oral health of newly-arrived humanitarian migrants in Montreal and their pathways to finding dental care. This is the first project in Canada to take a systematic approach to the oral health of this population. This study is necessary to provide baseline data from which to develop targeted interventions through a longitudinal program of research on the oral health of humanitarian migrants in Canada.

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