Background and Overview. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, or NIDCR, in 2001 sponsored the establishment of Centers for Research to Reduce Oral Health Disparities. The centers are based at Boston University; New York University; the University of Michigan; the University of Washington; and the University of California, San Francisco. Reflecting the importance of research to reduce disparities, the centers, along with related grants, represent one of the largest financial commitments ever made by the NIDCR. The centers are sponsored in part by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, or NCMHHD. Each of the five centers has forged partnerships that include ties with dental societies, state and local health agencies, community and migrant health centers, American Indian tribal nations and institutions that serve other diverse patient populations. Conclusions and Clinical Implications. This network is attempting to address the needs of communities with poor oral health. A major part of the effort of these new centers is to build community networks and establish long-term relationships. Center investigators also recognize that solutions to these vexing problems must be built on an understanding of the social, economic, racial, educational, political and behavioral factors that affect most health care issues.
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