Dr. Go Matsuo, a dentist now practicing in Nagasaki, Japan, will receive a Leverett Graduate Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dental Public Health from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD).
He will accept the Leverett Award on April 27 at the National Oral Health Conference in Kansas City, Mo. The AAPHD recognizes three projects each year in a national competition among students in dental public health graduate programs.
During the conference, Dr. Matsuo will present a paper titled, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Dental Caries Experience among Kindergarten Students in North Carolina”.
He conducted the award-winning research for the paper while enrolled in the N.C. Dental Public Health Residency Program, which is offered in collaboration by the Oral Health Section of the N.C. Division of Public Health and the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The program offers one year of specialized professional training for dentists who already have completed a Master of Public Health degree, qualifying them for board certification in Dental Public Health.
Dr. Matsuo’s paper reports findings from clinical assessments for dental caries (tooth decay) in more than 80,000 kindergarten students at more than 1,000 schools. From 2009 to 2010, the year of the study, the N.C. Oral Health Surveillance System provided race and ethnicity for each kindergarten student in the state for the first time.
More than half of Hispanic students (52 percent) had experienced dental caries by the time they started public school, compared to 39 percent of African-American students and 30 percent of white students.