A study by Indiana University that shows Mexican-American immigrants’ dependence on networks in the face of oral health issues won the 2019 Giddon Award for Distinguished Research.
The Giddon Award, presented by The International Association for Dental Research, recognizes a single research publication annually from the social and behavioral sciences that contributes to the field of dentistry.
The award-winning study, called “Talking about Teeth: Egocentric Networks and Oral Health Outcomes in a Mexican American Immigrant Community,” was led by Erin Pullen (IUNI), in collaboration with Brea Perry (IUB Sociology) and Gerardo Maupomé (IUPUI Fairbanks Public Health).
“Talking about Teeth” focused on oral health problems, including tooth loss and dental pain, among Mexican immigrants living in the United States.
Researchers found Mexican immigrants’ oral health networks, or the people they report talking to about their oral health concerns, are active components in the management and response to oral health problems in immigrants’ communities. This study suggests immigrants rely heavily on these networks to manage oral health problems, turning to their family members, friends, and others in their communities to seek advice, information, or emotional support.
The team used data from the TalaSurvey Study, for which Maupomé is the principal investigator, to examine these relationships.
This work provides rare insight into using network methods and social influence theories to investigate oral health, and the researchers will continue to advance the important line of work with Maupomé’s continued data collection.
Learn More: “Talking about Teeth: Egocentric Networks and Oral Health Outcomes in a Mexican American Immigrant Community” was recently published in the special Immigration and Health issue of the book series Advances in Medical Sociology. You can find it here.