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Using Biostatistics to Battle Oral Health Disparities

July 31, 2017

The UCSF Academic Senate features profiles of UCSF faculty on its website. This month, Jing Cheng, MD, MS, PhD, adjunct professor in the School of Dentistry, was spotlighted.

Jing ChengJing Cheng, MD, MS, PhD, adjunct professor, Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences (PRDS), School of Dentistry (SOD), seeks to solve oral health disparities through statistical methodology research. Much of the biostatistician’s work is collaborative research, translating scientific efforts into clinical practice.

“I see an oral health disparity among low-income and even some first-generation immigrants,” Cheng said. “For example, in China some hold a faulty belief that children don’t need to practice oral hygiene, because children’s baby teeth fall out anyway, but actually oral health impacts us at all ages. Recent studies show that there is an association with improper oral health and long-term overall health, like kidney disease.”

While Cheng doesn’t directly interact with patients, she does work alongside researchers through observational studies and randomized trials pertaining to topics including: dentistry, biomedicine, infectious diseases, nursing, pharmacogenomics, and public policy research.

“I typically work with dentists or medical doctors, to help develop analysis plans for identifying what is the best statistical measure and method for their studies in order to answer research questions,” Cheng said.

>> Read the complete profile on the UCSF Academic Senate site.