Mission Statement

The mission of this department is to eliminate disparities in health status and access to health care services, promote optimal oral health, and prevent disease through our research, teaching, and service.

Through our research, we strive to integrate behavioral, social, economic, and cultural factors into interdisciplinary multi-level studies of health. Experimental, epidemiologic, and clinical studies form the basis for the portfolio of current research on pain, oral cancer detection and prevention, tobacco use, access to care, as well as ethnic and gender health disparities.

Through our teaching, our goal is to expand students’ understanding of the impact of behavioral, social, economic, and cultural factors on the occurrence of disease across the lifespan with emphasis on oral disease and delivery and utilization of health services. Our instruction reflects our commitment to increase student sensitivity to the influence of culture on health and well-being. We seek to develop a generation of health care professionals that understands the community context in which it works and has the tools to incorporate a culturally-appropriate, evidence-based approach into clinical practice.

Through our service, we seek to increase the knowledge of our colleagues within the University, the broader healthcare and research communities, and the public about current health-related issues affecting the overall well-being of all citizens ultimately to improve treatment, enhance access, and influence healthcare policy.