Population Oral Health


Substantial progress has been made in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases. Yet, certain populations are still experiencing disproportionate and unacceptable burdens of these diseases. Oral health disparities and inequities continue among low-income populations and minority groups; rural, remote, and indigenous communities; those with disabilities and 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 determinants of health at multiple levels of influence (e.g., individual, family, community, health services) and develop and test intervention strategies to improve the oral health of vulnerable populations.

Several core values and principles drive us

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

Under this research cluster, our mission is

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

We prepare trainees for high-level leadership to 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

In the cluster's focus on oral epidemiology, its 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 improve competencies of oral health professionals in northern or remote indigenous communities (Canadian Dental Connection).

Health Care Services and Policy Research

Promoting 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 the oral health and quality of life of all Canadians.

Clinical Research

Focus on the quality, safety, and effectiveness of clinical interventions designed to improve the oral health and quality of life of the population.

Dental Education Research

Promoting research with the goal of 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 of complex problems in dental public health; (2) helps address these problems through the development of recommendations, guidelines, and interventions; and (3) evaluates subsequent implementation with the ultimate goal of improving oral health outcomes and increasing health equity in Canada; (3) help increase understanding of the distribution and determinants of chronic oral diseases; (4) contribute to health policy development for the improvement of health outcomes and 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. 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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