Population Oral Health


Substantial progress has been made in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases, yet a disproportionate and unacceptable disease burden still falls on certain populations more than on others. Oral health disparities and inequities continue among low-income populations and minority groups; rural, remote, and Indigenous communities; and those with disabilities and/or mobility challenges, including the frail elderly. The Population Oral Health research division focuses on oral epidemiology, Indigenous oral health research, health care services and policy research, clinical research, and dental education research.

Our professors conduct research using sophisticated conceptual frameworks that recognize a range of health determinants at multiple levels of influence (e.g., individual, family, community, health services) and develop and test intervention strategies to improve vulnerable populations’ oral health.

Several core values and principles drive us

  • Social justice and human rights
  • Partnerships with health professions, communities, and society
  • Scientific interdisciplinarity
  • Excellence and leadership

Within this research cluster, our mission is

  • To nurture and facilitate learning in undergraduate and graduate students and provide them with a supportive academic environment.
  • To foster outstanding clinical and public health research that responds to the populations' needs, and promotes positive change in oral health, health care and access to care.
  • To serve the population through the development of health promoting projects, including novel approaches to health care delivery and knowledge translation.

We prepare trainees to be high-level leaders who will make a difference in the fields of dental public health and oral health care. Using collaborative, interdisciplinary, and small-group learning environments, we provide students with advanced training in protocol development, research methodology, and data management to analyze complex oral health problems and to evaluate, design, and implement interventions to address these problems.

Population Oral Health Research Priorities:

Oral Epidemiology

Oral epidemiology research focuses on the occurrence, distribution, and determinants of oral disease, including biological, psychological, social, cultural and environmental factors and their complex interactions. We conduct innovative research that emphasizes the integration of substantive knowledge and cutting-edge epidemiologic methods. We teach and conduct research on the epidemiology of cancer (such as head and neck cancers, oral cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, etc.) and more common chronic diseases including dental caries and periodontal disease and their potential links with systemic diseases (e.g., obesity, cardiovascular disease).

Indigenous Oral Health Research

Oral health research can help reduce health inequities that currently exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada. By working closely with indigenous peoples in both Montreal and rural and remote communities, Indigenous Oral Health Research works towards implementing effective and equitable oral health policy, in addition to facilitating dental care access and improving of oral health professionals competencies in northern or remote Indigenous communities (Canadian Dental Connection).

Health Care Services and Policy Research

The Health Care Services and Policy Research cluster promotes innovative research and knowledge translation initiatives to improve the way oral health care services are organized, regulated, managed, financed, paid for, used, and delivered, in the interest of improving all Canadians’ oral health and quality of life.

Clinical Research

Clinical research is focused on the quality, safety, and effectiveness of clinical interventions designed to improve the populations’ oral health and quality of life.

Dental Education Research

The Dental Education Research cluster promotes research oriented toward improving the quality of dental education, including curriculum design, interdisciplinary course implementation, teaching activities, mentoring, and student learning.


Knowledge translation goals

Our research: (1) generates knowledge about complex problems in dental public health; (2) helps address these problems by developing recommendations, guidelines, and interventions; and (3) evaluates subsequent implementation with the ultimate goal of improving oral health outcomes and increasing health equity in Canada.



Dr. Paul Allison

  • Oral cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Psychosocial determinants of health
  • Clinical epidemiology

Dr. Christophe Bedos

  • Public health
  • Access to care
  • Social justice
  • Poverty
  • Qualitative research

Dr. Elham Emami

  • Intervention: Prosthodontic treatment, Innovative intervention
  • Access : access to care for Rural, Remote and Indigenous communities
  • Impact: Impact of oral health on general health

Dr. Jocelyne Feine

  • Randomized clinical trials
  • Patient-based outcomes
  • Quality of life
  • Dental implants

Dr. Richard Hovey

  • Qualitative research
  • Patient centred care
  • Chronic illness
  • Medical Education / Communication

Dr. Mary Ellen Macdonald

  • Vulnerable populations
  • Aboriginal and indigenous health
  • Palliative care and bereavement
  • Communication skills and cultural competency

Dr. Sreenath Madathil

  • Epidemiology
  • Data science
  • Machine learning
  • Bayesian statistics

Dr. Belinda Nicolau

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Life course epidemiology
  • Periodontal disease
  • Obesity

Dr. Raphael de Souza

  • Dental implants
  • Patient-based outcomes
  • Prosthodontics
  • Randomized clinical trials
  • Systematic reviews

Dr. Pascaline Kengne Talla

  • Evaluation of health innovations
  • Digital solutions: theories, assessment, implementation
  • Behaviour change
  • Psychosocial and organisational theories
  • Knowledge mobilization

Dr. Ana Velly, Associate Professor,
Chair of Orofacial Pain Working Group of the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR)

  • Pain
  • Acute to chronic pain transition
  • Biomarkers
  • Opioids
  • Epidemiology
  • Randomized clinical trials
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Statistical Analysis

Research collaborators: Clinical Research

Dr. Samer Abi-Nader

  • Prosthodontics
  • Implant Dentistry

Dr. Beatriz Ferraz dos Santos

  • Children’s oral health
  • Public health
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Access to care

Dr. Bassel Kano

  • Endodontics

Dr. Alissa Levine

  • Qualitative research
  • Marginalized populations
  • Sex and gender


Dr. Nora Makansi

  • Qualitative and Mixed Methods research
  • Oral healthcare accessibility
  • Applied communication skills in dental education

Dr. Nicholas Makhoul

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Oncology
  • Maxillofacial Reconstruction
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Outcomes Studies and Quality Assurance in Maxillofacial Cancer Care

Dr. Frances Power

  • Access to Oral Health Care
  • Oral Health Disparities
  • Community-Based Dentistry

Dr. Firoozeh Samim

  • Head and Neck Cancers
  • Oral Diseases

Dr. Svetlana Tikhonova

  • Evidence-Based dentistry education
  • Cariology education
  • Visual-tactile caries diagnosis
  • Caries management



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