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THE ORAL HEALTH RESEARCH EXCHANGE GROUP 
The Oral Health Research Exchange Group (OHREG) at the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research (NLCAHR) is an outcome of the 2009 CIHR-funded research project “Increasing Capacity for Oral Health (ICOH).” ICOH was developed to inform oral health policy for vulnerable populations and was a collaboration between clinician-researchers at Dalhousie University and a diverse group of stakeholders in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) who shared an interest in connecting the assessment of oral health needs to the delivery of oral health services. Dr. Joanne Clovis, Professor and former Director of Dalhousie’s School of Dental Hygiene, Dr. Debora Matthews, Professor and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at Dalhousie’s Faculty of Dentistry, and Dr. Stephen Bornstein, Director of NLCAHR at Memorial University led the ICOH project.

Originally convened under the leadership of NL dentist, Dr. Peter Hornett, a key focus of OHREG was the development of an oral health strategy for seniors in NL. OHREG has created a focus on oral health within a health research unit (NLCAHR) that is part of Memorial University, a major Canadian university that does not currently have any oral health professional education programs.

Dr. Clovis now convenes OHREG, which meets bi-monthly at NLCAHR to exchange research knowledge and to build research capacity in NL. OHREG has a primary purpose: to consider and promote areas of oral health research that may benefit from the implementation of applied health research and to promote, encourage, and facilitate such research.

One of its current projects will involve the development of a research compendium on oral health, an online resource for oral health researchers.

OHREG comprises researchers, oral health professionals, policy makers, government, and community members interested in oral health. The group has established important linkages between two provinces and two universities and increases knowledge of oral health and oral health policy in both.

By exploring the use of distance technology, barriers and enablers to oral health research have been identified. With some system modifications and the development of an educational tool, Dalhousie researchers can now provide guidance to NL in the development and execution of oral health status surveys and surveillance for baseline assessments and program evaluations.

Today, the 24-member Oral Health Research Exchange Group includes researchers, students, dentists, dental hygienists, community organizations, and policy makers in the NL government. It is an active network of individuals and organizations in NL with vested interests in oral health promotion and further research to reduce oral health disparities.



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