Dr. Ahluwalia’s research addresses the complex interplay between oral health, healthcare, wellness and the social and economic determinants of health outcomes in vulnerable populations. She is particularly interested in designing, implementing and testing sustainable models of care delivery for vulnerable older adults. Dr. Ahluwalia has successfully used community-based participatory research principles to work closely with communities to find creative and unexpected ways of integrating oral health and healthcare into existing care systems, resulting in the development of sustainable programs that bridge the divide between dentistry and other health professions. Dr. Ahluwalia was Principal Investigator on a study funded by the CDC to examine the feasibility of training nurses and home health aides to provide daily oral care to home care recipients, and was funded by the American Legacy Foundation to address smoking cessation in the same population; she successfully used lessons learned from these programs to leverage funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address fire safety in older adults receiving home care services. Of thirteen grantees funded by the New York State Department of Health to address dementia related issues in institutionalized older adults, Dr. Ahluwalia was the only grantee funded to address oral health and healthcare, the results of which are being used to provide oral health training to nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants in all New York State nursing homes. Dr. Ahluwalia is currently Principal Investigator on an National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded study designed to determine how pain and oral dysfunction impact ability to eat and food modification in older adults receiving Meals-On-Wheels; a major focus of this work, which was supplemented by the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, is to determine how oral health promotion may be integrated into the structures and systems of Meals-On-Wheels, an organization that is national in scope. In addition to her work with older adults, Dr. Ahluwalia is currently working with the Earth Institute’s South Asian Global Center to understand the impact of oral disease on ability to eat, nutrition and learning in school children in Assam and Andhra Pradesh, India. This project seeks to inform the development and implementation of sustainable school-based policies and interventions to improve health and learning outcomes in disadvantaged children in rural India.
Alfaro DP, Ahluwalia KP.
N Y State Dent J. 2010 Aug-Sep;76(5):38-41.
Badner V, Ahluwalia KP, Murrman MK, Sanogo M, Darlington T, Edelstein BL.
J Dent Educ. 2010 Feb;74(2):130-9.
Ahluwalia KP, Cheng B, Josephs PK, Lalla E, Lamster IB.
Gerodontology. 2010 Jun;27(2):96-103. Epub 2009 Sep 8.