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New Video Showcasing Stony Brook Physician Assistant Program Promotes Health Equity with Oral Health as the Exemplar

New Video Showcasing Stony Brook PA Program Promotes Health Equity with Oral Health as the Exemplar 

In its video, 'Joining the Fight for Oral Health: Promoting Health Equity', the nccPA Health Foundation calls on Physician Assistants, students, and others to engage with volunteer and outreach efforts that foster more equitable health care. Stream the video online.  A segment of the video was shot in the School of Health Technology and Management, and highlights Stony Brook Physican Assistant students and faculty.

Healthy People 2020 defines health equity as “the attainment of the highest levels of health for all people,” and the evidence to support oral health as the exemplar is compelling:

  •  Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of early childhood – five times more common than asthma – and almost entirely preventable.
  •  Oral conditions constitute the reason for about 1% of all US emergency department visits annually at a cost of close to $1 billion.
  •  People with diabetes are twice as likely to lose teeth on average as those without the condition; and the oral-systemic connection means that many other chronic conditions – heart disease, stroke, obesity, and HIV – are negatively impacted by poor oral health.
  •  More than 48.8 million people live in places where it is difficult to access dental care, contributing to unequal access and health disparities. More than 7,500 dentists would be needed to remove all dental health profession shortage area designations.
  •  Oral health fits within the scope of PA practice; it emphasizes screening, risk assessment and behavior change counseling to improve patient self-advocacy.

“Poor oral health disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable and underserved in our communities,” said Dawn Morton Rias, Ed.D., PA-C, NCCPA and Foundation President and CEO. “We want to place a spotlight on this and other health disparities where we believe PAs are leaders in creating opportunities for everyone to reach optimal health.”
To equip PAs to make an impact, the Foundation offers grants to foster integration of oral health in community outreach, PA education, and PA practice. This video and grant program are part of the PA Leadership Initiative in Oral Health, which is supported by the National Interprofessional Initiative in Oral Health (NIIOH) and its funders the DentaQuest Foundation and Washington Dental Service Foundation.

Additionally, the nccPA Health Foundation offers its Be the CHANGE grants to create health access now for greater equity to foster PA-led volunteer and service learning activities that impact other health disparities by providing patient education and care. Read more about our grants programs here.

The nccPA Health Foundation is a 501c(3) charitable nonprofit organization that designs solutions for improving the capacity of certified PAs to impact quality and accessibility of health care delivery. The Foundation is a supporting organization to the National Commission of Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the only certifying body for PAs in the US. The generous support of donors enables the Foundation to empower PAs to improve health.