Public Health, Epidemiology and Behavioral Sciences

Public health issues include researching the utilization of dental services by low income children, oral disease in the elderly, geriatric dental care services, the effects of various developmental disabilities and medical illnesses on oral health, and conducting longitudinal studies, which demonstrate the effects of nutritive and non-nutritive sucking and feeding devices on oral facial growth and development.

Dr. Daniel Caplan
Dr. Caplan studies outcomes related to endodontic treatment; decision-making in endodontics; relationships between oral and systemic diseases; and evaluation of diagnostic tests.
Dr. Hong Chen
Dr. Chen's research interests focus on temporomandibular disorders, headache, and other oral and facial pain conditions. Her current research evaluates the dysregulations in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and in the hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that is related to pain in TMD patients. She is also interested in clinical risk assessment, treatment, and prevention for persistance of chronic orofacial pain conditions.
Dr. Xi Chen
Dr. Chen’s research focuses on oral health management for older adults with cognitive impairment, relationships between oral and systemic diseases in geriatric patients, end-of-life oral health care, and clinical decision-making for medically compromised patients.
Dr. Howard J. Cowen
Dr. Cowen's research interests include epidemiology of oral disease in the elderly, etiology of tooth loss, osteoporosis and fluoride intake, and the oral health of nursing home residents.
Ms. Marsha Cunningham-Ford
Dr. Deborah V. Dawson
Dr. Dawson’s current research interests include investigations of factors affecting susceptibility to dental caries and enamel defects, as well as studies of gene-environment interaction, caries pattern analysis, craniofacial morphology, microbial transmission, trajectory analysis, and meta-analysis.  She collaborates on a wide variety of clinical, epidemiologic and basic science studies and has made contributions to statistical methods in human genetics, including applications in the areas of delayed onset disorders and ascertainment bias.  Other interests include the analysis of longitudinal studies and classification and risk assessment problems.
Dr. Peter Damiano
Dr. Damiano is a health services researcher whose research focuses on access to primary dental and medical care, especially regarding maternal and child health issues; quality of care; public and private health insurance programs; and health policy. Current externally financed projects include: 1) an NIH-funded study of the early childhood dental issues; 2) a Commonwealth Fund-supported project evaluating the impact of the 2010 Health Care Reform Law on safety net providers in Iowa; 3) an evaluation of the Iowa Medicaid managed care program (MediPASS); 4) an evaluation of the IowaCare program; 5) a statewide study of the health and wellbeing of children and families in Iowa; and 6) outcomes of care for children with cleft lip and palate.
Dr. Jennifer Hartshorn
Dr. Maria Marcela Hernandez
Dr. David C. Holmes
Dr. Holmes researches issues about faculty mentoring, curriculum design, and educational outcomes assessment. He has also investigated the oral health characteristics of Sudanese refugees who have resettled in Colorado.
Dr. Michael J. Kanellis
Dr. Kanellis researches public health issues affecting pediatric dentistry, including school-based dental care, early childhood caries, and access and utilization of dental services by low-income children.
Dr. Justine L. Kolker
Dr. Kolker's current interests include early caries clinical detection and root caries classification using the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS). Dr. Kolker also actively incorporates ICDAS into the dental curriculum at Iowa.
Dr. Raymond Kuthy
Dr. Kuthy’s research broadly addresses improving dental care access and reducing health disparities for dental access. Current externally financed projects include: 1) monitoring and surveillance of Iowa’s oral health workforce; 2) a study on the development of dental service areas to assess geographic barriers to dental care; 3) an evaluation of the Iowa Dental Wellness Plan (Iowa’s adult Medicaid expansion program); and 4) a study on the impact of indebtedness on dental student career decision-making and practice location.
Dr. Kecia S. Leary
Dr. Leary's research specialties include dental care for at-risk populations and working with public health organizations to provide dental care to pediatric patients in an evidenced-based approach.
Dr. Steven M. Levy
Dr. Levy's research includes various aspects of oral epidemiology. His research with an extensive team of collaborators on the Iowa Fluoride Study (IFS) is investigating the epidemiology of fluoride intake and dental fluorosis; fluoride intake, dietary patterns, and dental caries; esthetic perceptions of dental fluorosis and other conditions; the relationship between infants' and young children's feeding and sucking patterns and dental growth as well as development and malocclusion. Genetic aspects are now being studied concerning dental fluorosis and caries, with expansion to malocclusion recently began. The bone growth portion of the IFS is called the Iowa Bone Development Study and it also looks at dietary, genetic and physical activity as determinants of bone development in adolescents. Dr. Levy is also part of the interdisciplinary collegiate team involved in early childhood caries prevention. A major study of early childhood caries (ECC) risk assessment that he is a PI has just been initiated. Other current and recent research projects include health services research concerning the use of water fluoride assay and dietary fluoride supplements, the use of dentifrice by preschool children and the effect of dentifrice flavor, and the validity of, and change in, patient medical histories. His past research projects also include the importance of medication use in dentistry, the measurement and prevention of incipient root surface caries, Alzheimer's disease and oral health, and the epidemiology of oral disease among the elderly, including periodontal disease and factors related to tooth loss.
Dr. Tad R. Mabry
Dr. Leo Marchini
Dr. Marchini's current research focus includes geriatric dental and general health epidemiology, satisfaction of prosthodontic patients, tempormandibular dysfunction and bruxism, and molecular biology tools applied to geriatric and dental problems.
Dr. Cindy L. Marek
Dr. Teresa Marshall
Dr. Marshall's research interests focus on nutrition, oral health and systemic health. Current research efforts include diet, growth, and oral health in young children, as well as nutrition and oral health in the elderly.
Dr. Susan McKernan
Dr. McKernan conducts health services research that examines disparities in access to dental care, with an interest in geographical determinants of access and dental workforce availability. Current externally financed projects include: 1) an evaluation of Iowa’s Dental Wellness Plan; 2) an evaluation of the state’s oral health workforce; and 3) a statewide study of geographic barriers to dental care for low income children.
Dr. Michelle R. McQuistan
Dr. McQuistan is currently involved in two main areas of research: oral health literacy and the longitudinal outcomes of community-based clinical activities (extramural programs). Her past research has included studying the Iowa general dentists' referral of children from ages 0-14 to pediatric dentists, and the use of sports sponsorship in tobacco advertising. She supervises residents, pre-doctoral, and undergraduate students.
Dr. Elizabeth Momany
Dr. Momany conducts research examining the outcomes of health programs and state-level dental innovations such as Iowa's I-Smile program emphasizing model development to explain health care utilization. She directs and manages the Medicaid data repository providing data for research such as finding the predictors of ED use for dental-related problems and surveys on the value of dental care. Externally financed projects include 1) an evaluation of the Integrated Health Home investigating changes in primary care use as people are moved into an integrated system or behavioral/emotional and medical care; 2) a family planning evaluation determining how family planning services affect Medicaid costs; and 3) an evaluation of the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan emphasizing the effects of expanded coverage on the dental utilization.
Dr. Julie Reynolds
Dr. Reynolds’ research broadly involves vulnerable populations’ access to dental services. She is involved in the following externally financed projects: 1) an evaluation of the Iowa Dental Wellness Plan, a dental insurance program for the Medicaid expansion population; 2) a HRSA-funded study of Iowa’s dental workforce; and 3) a project evaluating Iowa’s dental safety net and opportunities for delivery system change.
Dr. John J. Warren
Dr. Warren's current research includes several studies of factors related to dental caries in early childhood and the prevention of this disease; longitudinal sucking patterns and dental arch development; and longitudinal study of fluoride exposures and dental fluorosis. Dr. Warren is also the director of the College of Dentistry's student research program.
Dr. Karin Weber-Gasparoni
Dr. Weber-Gasparoni's research specialties include dental care for patients with special health care needs and infants, toddlers, and children of low-income, high risk populations. Her research includes early dental interventions, including early childhood caries, psychological theories of motivation, and public health issues affecting the health of pediatric dental patients.