Modeling Social Dimensions of Oral Health Among Older Adults in Urban Environments

Sara S. Metcalf, Mary Northridge, Michael J. Widener, Bibhas Chakraborty, Stephen E. Marshall, Ira B. Lamster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In both developed and developing countries, population aging has attained unprecedented levels. Public health strategies to deliver services in community-based settings are key to enhancing the utilization of preventive care and reducing costs for this segment of the population. Motivated by concerns of inadequate access to oral health care by older adults in urban environments, this article presents a portfolio of systems science models that have been developed on the basis of observations from the ElderSmile preventive screening program operated in northern Manhattan, New York City, by the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. Using the methodology of system dynamics, models are developed to explore how interpersonal relationships influence older adults' participation in oral health promotion. Feedback mechanisms involving word of mouth about preventive screening opportunities are represented in relation to stocks that change continuously via flows, as well as agents whose states of health care utilization change discretely using stochastic transitions. Agent-based implementations illustrate how social networks and geographic information systems are integrated into dynamic models to reflect heterogeneous and proximity-based patterns of communication and participation in the ElderSmile program. The systems science approach builds shared knowledge among an interdisciplinary research team about the dynamics of access to opportunities for oral health promotion. Using "what if" scenarios to model the effects of program enhancements and policy changes, resources may be effectively leveraged to improve access to preventive and treatment services. Furthermore, since oral health and general health are inextricably linked, the integration of services may improve outcomes and lower costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Volume40
Issue number1 Suppl
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Oral Health
Health Promotion
Preventive Health Services
Patient Acceptance of Health Care
Costs and Cost Analysis
Geographic Information Systems
Preventive Medicine
Health Services Accessibility
Developed Countries
Social Support
Population
Developing Countries
Tooth
Public Health
Medicine
Modeling
Health
Urban Environment
Research
Screening

Keywords

  • agent-based modeling
  • aging and health
  • community health promotion
  • dynamic modeling
  • health promotion
  • social influence
  • systems science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Modeling Social Dimensions of Oral Health Among Older Adults in Urban Environments. / Metcalf, Sara S.; Northridge, Mary; Widener, Michael J.; Chakraborty, Bibhas; Marshall, Stephen E.; Lamster, Ira B.

In: Health Education and Behavior, Vol. 40, No. 1 Suppl, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Metcalf, Sara S. ; Northridge, Mary ; Widener, Michael J. ; Chakraborty, Bibhas ; Marshall, Stephen E. ; Lamster, Ira B. / Modeling Social Dimensions of Oral Health Among Older Adults in Urban Environments. In: Health Education and Behavior. 2013 ; Vol. 40, No. 1 Suppl.
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