CIHR funding for student to address gap in HIV/AIDS educational material and resources

Spring, 2013

This summer Dr. Denise Laronde’s research in the area of oral cancer screening and early detection will receive a boost from one of her students, Marco Wu, a recent graduate from the Dental Hygiene Degree Program. Building on guided independent study work undertaken in his fourth year (see page 29 of the Spring 2013 issue of Impressions), Wu will develop an educational module for oral mucosal screening within a high-risk community setting.

Wu was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Undergraduate Summer Studentship. Of 36 grants available across Canada, he won the only one specific c for a dental hygiene student. The award is funded in partnership with the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association.

Barriers to oral care can be great for many people with HIV/AIDS and are often associated with financial limitations, stigma, discrimination and fear. These factors make it very difficult to find care providers who can or will attend to them.

Wu will collect and assess current oral health educational resources aimed at the HIV-positive population as background for developing future educational resources.

He will also be involved in developing referral pathways for lesion follow-up. His findings will be presented to the Positive Living Society of British Columbia and to oral health and medical professionals to raise awareness of HIV individuals who do not receive regular oral health care and oral mucosal screening.

A further result of Wu’s summer studentship will be to educate non-oral health care providers to screen for oral lesions in HIV-positive individuals who do not access regular oral health care, and to aid in referring individuals with lesions to oral health professionals.