Dr. Xi Chen, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, claimed first place at the recent International Association of Dental Research (IADR) meeting when he was named the winner of the J. Morita Award for his work in geriatric oral research.
Chen’s winning study, entitled “Dental Care Pattern in Older Adults at the End-of-Life,” examined the dental care patterns in older adults in the last year of their lives. Oral infection and disease negatively impact all adults, but critically-ill older adults are more likely to have their systemic health and quality of life compromised as a result of those oral infections. The study found that while most critically-ill older adults with poor oral health suffered with insufficient oral care, comprehensive treatment was also commonly provided to older adults at the end of life.
“Through the research, my colleagues and I realized that the current education of health professionals needs to be more thorough with regard to end-of-life care,” explained Chen. “Terminally-ill patients require a different level of attention and have different needs than those with years still to live. A new, multidisciplinary practice model that facilitates inter-professional collaboration should be established to improve the quality of end-of-life care.”
The J. Morita Award is one of three awards given annually by the IADR Geriatric Oral Research Group (GORG). All of the awards – J. Morita Award for pre-doctoral work, J Morita Award for post-doctoral work, and the J. Morita Jonathan Ship Award for dental students – are in place to foster research in geriatric oral health. Chen, as well as the other two recipients, were given a plaque and a monetary award.
“It was truly an honor to have my research recognized at such a high level,” said Chen.
During the meeting, GORG also elected Chen as a member of the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) council representing the group. In that capacity, he will represent GORG at the AADR meetings by being their voice in AADR meetings.