Interdisciplinary Approaches to Promote Adolescents' Oral Health and Reduce Disparities

Systems approach to disparities

I strongly support an expanded approach to address oral health disparities. This initiative addresses oral health by thinking broadly about determinants of health that transend a particular disease. As stated in the announcement it will require expertise in many disciplines of research. I believe it also requires a systems approach that can take advantage of health care systems to advance the goals of this initiative. Measuring oral health outcomes is very important but measurement should look at other measures of health. For example, diet is a significant risk factor for caries but it is also relevant to obesity and its related health effects. Health care systems will not solve health disparities but they can do their part. They need to be more closely partnered with other community and school based initiatives where the actions in one sphere are coordinated with efforts in other severes. We need to support initiatives that take activities out of silos. This is no small challenge but they can be supported by technology. The world is changing and our approaches to health improvement need to change.

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Comment No. 344