Each year, this 10-week summer fellowship program focuses on advocacy and research for special populations including oral health of veterans, LGBTQIA+ people, and rural communities. The 2023 cohort of fellows contributed to a special research project for veteran oral health in Iowa, supported by the Delta Dental Foundation of Iowa.
The Summer Research Fellowship ran from June through August 2023, and provided participants with an opportunity to engage in dental public health workforce educational experiences with a long view — by investing in building capacity of dental public health professionals and students we create an action infrastructure for the future. Here’s a summary of the 2023 fellows and how they contributed to the Delta Dental Foundation of Iowa project:
Harold Nii Aponsah, DDS, MPH, Ph.D candidate
Dr. Aponsah is a dental public health resident at the Eastman Institute of Oral Health at the University of Rochester in New York. He received his bachelor of science and DDS degrees from the University of Ghana; a master’s in public health from Northern Illinois University; and is working on his doctoral degree at Northern Illinois University. He is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at North Central College in Illinois, where he teaches undergraduate epidemiology courses. He has also practiced dentistry at Ningels Specialist Dental Clinic, where he diagnosed and treated various oral diseases with expert dentistry knowledge in periodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, endodontics, and prosthodontics.
Fellowship Focus: Dr. Aponsah contributed to information about physical health indicators, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, as well as the financial burden these conditions place on the VA.
Mary Tandon, DDS, MDPH
Dr. Tandon is an associate at the University of Iowa, where she works with fourth-year dental students. She received her Master of Science in Dental Public Health from the University of Iowa where she also received her DDS. She has worked as a dentist for Federally Qualified Health Centers in Arizona and California. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona, where she supervised fourth-year dental students.
Fellowship Focus: Dr. Tandon worked on the healthcare infrastructure in Iowa, highlighting the VHA, University/Hospital, and FQHC resources.
Kawtar Zouaidi, DMD, MPH
Dr. Zouaidi received her DMD from the College of Dentistry of Rabat in Morocco, a Master of Science in Oral Biology from the College of Dentistry of Toulouse in France, a Master of Science in Public Dentistry from the College of Dentistry of Rabat, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas at Houston. She worked as a senior research associate at UTHealth, and has published several papers on pediatric dentistry, including topics like sedation, caries, and attitudes toward oral health.
Fellowship Focus: Veteran oral health with an emphasis on the carcinogenic potential of poor oral health.
Interested in learning more about AIDPH’s Summer Fellowship Program and application for 2024? Visit our website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.