Unearthed knowledge

Dentists and public health professionals have a reason to smile a little brighter thanks to the tireless work of our very own John O’Malley and a $100,000 investment from Delta Dental of Michigan.

John spearheaded creation of the recently launched National Oral Health Data Portal – a resource that provides holistic views of oral health in differing populations, identifies crucial disparities and assists in implementing targeted interventions.

“The state of oral health from the county level up to the national level has been a black hole,” John said. “After two years of building this portal out, we’re glad that the data is consolidated into one place where it can be easily accessed by health departments, community health coalitions and providers.”

A first of its kind, the portal integrates datasets that reflect various dimensions of oral health, including information on health behaviors and access to care. Data is sortable by patient demographics such as age, ethnicity and education level.

As a result of his two-year commitment to making the portal a reality, John received the prestigious President’s Award at the National Oral Health Conference held by the Association of State & Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD). He worked alongside Delta Dental’s population health and utilization department, ASTDD and University of Michigan doctoral students to steer this initiative.