Although the United States has experienced population improvements in oral health over the past 60 years, oral diseases remain among the most common chronic conditions across the lifespan. Moreover, low-income, racial/ethnic minority, and elderly members of the population experience barriers to oral health opportunities. These barriers result in a lack of oral health awareness and dental hygiene, fewer contacts with the oral health care system, and poorer oral health outcomes. This dissertation research integrates different data sources and methods toward an enhanced understanding of the barriers faced in accessing dental care among racial/ethnic minority older adults in an urban context, and identifying opportunities for reducing barriers to oral health and health care. Qualitative data were analyzed from focus groups with community-dwelling older adults who self-identify as African American, Dominican, or Puerto Rican to elicit the lived experiences of older adults in accessing dental care in their northern Manhattan neighborhoods. To do so, this dissertation leveraged an approach to systematically extricating and representing factors associated with the decision-making process in finding and visiting dentists. The qualitative data analysis revealed that older adults want more information about oral health and their dental care options, particularly affordable dental care in their neighborhoods. The results from this qualitative analysis support the need for community-based oral health promotion and care. To further contextualize these findings, spatial data and analysis techniques were used to assess information about older adult populations and community resources for oral health promotion activities and dental care in the study area. The analysis of older adults’ lived experiences is thus situated in the community context. Therefore, this dissertation contributes approaches that may serve to inform context-specific strategies to promote oral health equity.
|Advisor:||Aldstadt, Jared, Metcalf, Sara S.|
|Commitee:||Rogerson, Peter A.|
|School:||State University of New York at Buffalo|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Geography, Public health, Systems science|
|Keywords:||Access to health care, Health equity, Oral health|
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