Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology

Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology (OHPE) is the nexus of dentistry, medicine, and public health which broadens the perspective and impact of global and community health practice and policy through education, research, and leadership. Our faculty and students, with community stakeholders and oral health professionals, drive collaborative, interdisciplinary, and innovative approaches to achieve oral health equity and wellbeing for all.   

 Faculty responsibilities in this department include didactic and clinical instruction in the predoctoral and postdoctoral curriculum in the following areas: dental public health, oral health and systemic health promotion and disease prevention, biostatistics and research methods, epidemiology of oral and systemic disease, global health, behavioral sciences, and leadership.  

Community-Based General Dentistry Externship: 

Our 4th year DMD students spend 12 weeks on an externship rotation through community health centers.  The supervising faculty at the externship sites are appointed through OHPE. 

Post-Graduate Dental Programs: 

The department prepares masters and doctoral students in interdisciplinary research and grants certificates in the specialties of dental public health, geriatric dentistry, and general practice residency. Our graduates routinely attain positions as funded researchers and leaders in dentistry, industry, education, and research institutions. Find out more about our degree programs here:  

Associated Degree and/or Certificate Programs  

Research and Funding

Faculty in our department have secured research funds through NIH, HRSA, DentaQuest, foundations as well as other funding sources. Our faculty focus on the following areas of research:  

  • Behavioral health
  • Post-doctoral training  
  • Integrating oral health medicine  
  • Interprofessional training and educational resources for geriatric health and equity  
  • Oral health improvement at the global level through prevention, policy, and health promotion 
  • The impact of social media misinformation/disinformation on public health 


OHPE collaborates with Harvard schools such as Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and with many institutions and agencies that offer a wide variety of training sites. Our collaborators include Cambridge Health Alliance, The Forsyth Institute, DentaQuest Partnership, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Continuing Education

The department offers Continuing Education (CE) courses with CE credits through the American Dental Association's Continuing Education Recognition Program.  For the past three years, we have held a CE course focused in geriatric dentistry to bring leaders in geriatric medicine, dentistry, and social work together to share knowledge and experience in treating our aging population; to better understand the knowledge, skills, and attributes required to care for our aging population; and to gain a more thorough understanding of how to practically approach overall care for older adults in the dental practice.  

Please see HSDM's Continuing Education page for more details.