BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo School of
Nursing has been awarded a $1,120,953 Health Resources and Services
Administration (HRSA) Advanced Nursing Education training grant for
nurse practitioners to work with dental students in
interdisciplinary teams, sharing educational and practice
experiences that improve oral and systemic care.
The grant is funded from July 2013 to June 2016.
The project director, Nancy Campbell-Heider, PhD, associate
professor of nursing, chair of the graduate nursing department and
director of the MS/doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program, says
that this year the HRSA request for proposals mirrored the
Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) call for greater emphasis on
educational programs that include interprofessional education and
collaborative experiences for health care providers.
“Coincidently, in our two schools—UB nursing and
dental medicine—we were already discussing the increasingly
compelling evidence regarding the connection between lifestyle and
pathophysiological factors such as oral health, dental disease and
multiple chronic conditions (MCC),” Campbell-Heider says.
“Our discussions ultimately lead to the partnership between
the two schools that underscore this grant.”
These collaborations will be unique experiences for the advanced
practice DNP students who usually collaborate with medical doctors,
“Working with dentists and dental students will be a new
Marsha Lewis, PhD, RN, dean of the School of Nursing, was
gratified with the award because HRSA grants are extremely
competitive and difficult to get and also because she is a strong
advocate for interprofessional education in the health
“Receiving the HRSA Advanced Nursing Education Training
Grant offers the School of Nursing a great opportunity to
collaborate with the School of Dental Medicine,” says Lewis.
“We are excited to join our colleagues in dental medicine to
improve health and wellness in the community.”
Why train advanced practice nurses about oral health?
Campbell-Heider says that 27 percent of Americans have more than
one chronic disease and this proportion consumes more than 66
percent of all health care resources. Some of these chronic
conditions are related to oral health and, as recent research has
demonstrated, oral diseases like periodontitis can affect the
outcomes of systemic illnesses such as diabetes and heart
However, access to high quality oral health care for primary
care patients is limited in rural and underserved health-and
dental-provider shortage areas, she says.
“Just as today’s dental students are being prepared
to assess their patients with MCC beyond the mouth—such as
elevated blood pressure and diabetes—advanced practice nurses
will be expected to assess early signs of periodontal disease in
adults and or apply fluoride varnish to children who lack dental
In addition to Campbell-Heider, other members of the team from
the School of Nursing include Tammy Austin-Ketch, PhD, Susan Bruce,
PhD, Patricia Nisbet, MS, and Yvonne Scherer, EdD.
UB School of Dental Medicine faculty on the training grant are:
Donald Antonson, DDS, M.Ed., interprofessional education
coordinator for the grant, associate dean for academic affairs and
professor in restorative dentistry and Patrick Anders, DDS, MPH,
director of oral medicine, assistant professor of oral diagnostic
"The School of Dental Medicine is excited to collaborate with
the School of Nursing on this critically important and timely
study," says Antonson. "At a time when oral health has become
so important in the overall health of people, having the nursing
profession as an additional ally in global oral health is
Karen Zinnerstrom, PhD, coordinator for training and evaluation
in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will work
with the advanced practice nursing and dental students on simulated
team scenarios and other evaluations of their knowledge and
interprofessional collaborative skills. Thomas Feeley, PhD,
professor and Department of Communications chair will serve as the
evaluator on the project.