Leah Barshinger

Leah Barshinger, Doctor of Dental Surgery student

Protects kids' teeth

What is your degree program and expected graduation date? Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), June 2019

Please describe your research: My research focuses on risk factors associated with tooth decay (also known as early childhood caries) in low-income children. We also investigate oral health related knowledge and practices of family physicians and pediatricians in the state of Iowa regarding the oral health care of children 0 to 3 years of age.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Early childhood caries is preventable yet remains the most common chronic disease in U.S. children. Identifying risk factors and barriers families face will help increase access to care, especially for high risk populations.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I began working with my current mentor, Dr. Weber-Gasparoni, during my second semester as an undergraduate student at UI.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Participating in research increased my awareness of the dental needs facing low-income families and inspired me to specialize in pediatric dentistry.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduating from dental school, I will begin a two-year residency program in pediatric dentistry.

Faculty mentor/advisor: Karin Weber-Gasparoni, DDS, MS, PhD

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA

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