Dr. Douglass L. Morell Research Fund is provided by the University of Washington School of Dentistry to support those biomedical and behavioral research activities for small-scale, short-term research projects, using mechanisms that allow rapid response to unanticipated needs and new opportunities. Specific areas of priority include pilot research, research by new investigators, studies to take advantage of emerging opportunities in ongoing research projects.
In July 2019, the Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health was awarded Morell Research Fund for project “Refugees’ Endeavors For Utilizing Governmental Existing Efforts in the State (REFUGEES); Dental Health Care Utilization Among Newly Resettled Refugees 2015-2018,” led by our intern Jennifer Liu, UW MPH Epidemiology graduate student.
The REFUGEES Project establishes baseline dental utilization data for refugees in the state to evaluate the effectiveness of customized, culturally sensitive interventions aimed at increasing dental utilization and improving refugee oral health. The aim of this longitudinal study is to determine oral health needs, dental services utilization rate, and factors associated with requesting services for refugee compared to non-refugee Medicaid patients, determine the most common dental services accessed between the two groups, and assess costs of dental treatment for refugees and non-refugees.
Through this pilot research project, the DeRouen Center aims to provide key information that can be used to develop culturally relevant interventions in order to improve oral health for thousands of refugees in Washington. In addition, REFUGEES Project will make us a stronger, more equitable community by strengthening collaborations and partnerships between the UW and State agencies, including Department of Health, Health Care Authority, and Department of Social and Health Services.