Dental school launches new programme to promote family health

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Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine has launched a new programme, which will target the family unit.

The new scheme, known as Family First, will involve nine families being adopted by the university. Different generations and family members will all be cared for as part of the programme.

The Family First initiative was launched to combat genetic problems and health issues which seem to run in the family. Recently, a number of studies have found that oral health issues can contribute to serious health issues, including an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and strokes; these health issues also tend to be more prevalent amongst families who have a history of the conditions.

The new programme will aim to improve standards of general health by ensuring oral health issues are treated and monitored; students at the dental school will assess the chosen patients and determine their risk of developing harmful oral health conditions, including gum disease, oral cancer and cavities.

The data, which is collected by the students and staff at the dental school, will be used to create a suitable treatment pathway for each patient. The programme has been set up in conjunction with colleagues in other departments of the university.

Nine families from East Cleveland and other surrounding areas have been chosen and tested and their treatment plan will start in August. Each family unit, which will be made up of between five and ten members, will be cared for by a community dentist, as well as their preceptor group at the university. The families will be given a set amount of free dental care.

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