Community Health

Overall Goal

A multidisciplinary group of individuals dedicated to health promotion and disease prevention with the elimination of oral health disparities in the community. The department has received funding to support activities aimed at enhancing oral health knowledge and behaviors, oral health and overall well-being. Disciplines represented within the department include: dentistry, medical sociology, epidemiology, geriatrics, ethics/law, dental public health, practice management, prevention and early detection of oral cancer, and community outreach and service.

Acting Chair

Christopher V. Hughes DMD, PhD
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry


Joseph Holtzman, PhD
Cecile Feldman DMD, MBA, Dean

Associate Professors

Jill A. York, DDS, MAS, Assistant Dean of Extramural Clinics
Debra Goldsmith, RDH, MS

Assistant Professors

David Bolger, DMD
Michael Cappuccilli, DDS
Kenson Noel, DMD
Rosa Chaviano-Moran, DMD, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Recruitment
Jeanette DeCastro, PhD


Jeanette DeCastro, PhD
Nicholas DePinto, DMD
Steven Toth, DMD

Clinical Instructors

Harris Colton, DDS
Gerald Convissar, DDS
Michael Fruchter, DMD
Mitchell Gardiner, DMD
Thomas Paglione, DMD
Allan Raden, DMD
David Romano, DMD
Sanjeev Satwah, DMD
Mangchi Yang, DDS

Clinical Assistant Professors

Brian Cardillo, DMD
Robert Fitzpatrick, MLIS
Jerome Hodlofski, DDS
Michael Kay, DDS
Robert Malecz, DMD
D. Scott Navarro, DDS
Paul Sauchelli, DMD
Gregory Shupik, DMD
Thomas Taylor, DDS
Alan Kleiman, DMD

Adjunct Associate Professors

Gregory La Morte, DDS
Judith S. Cohn, MLS
Yede Dennis, DMD

Adjunct Assistant Professors

Beverly Kupiec, PhD
Ronald Pack, DMD
Alan Vogel, DDS

Adjunct Instructors

Eric Hetherington, BA
James Palmisano, DDS
Herminio Perez, DMD
Joseph DiStephano, DMD
George Helfrich, DMD
Camels Ip, DMD
John Little, DMD


Inez Rouse-Pearson
Senior Management Assistant


Focuses on improving the oral health of the community and health-related quality of life. Such efforts are supported by foundation grants, and private industry.

Community Service

Activities that disseminate information on oral health prevention and health promotion as well as clinical trials assessing oral/ health status and efficacy of cutting-edge technology and oral health products. These efforts have targeted socially and economically disadvantaged populations in New Jersey. Outreach programs include a variety of community-based sites (i.e., day care centers, churches, schools, homeless shelters, nursing homes and halfway houses). In addition, the department targets disease-specific, high-risk groups.Community outreach is woven into the curriculum and outreach activities are required from every student during each academic year.


Prevention, dentistry in the community, communication in health care, epidemiology, geriatrics, practice management, and ethics. In addition to didactic material taught through lectures and small group learning, the courses include hands-on activities like working in the schools, treating patients in the dental school clinic, and interacting at a variety of active dental practices. Additionally, the department participates in oral cancer screenings, major community health fairs, and in national health and wellness projects, such as Give Kids A Smile! and Special Olympics.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to the Dental Profession. This course orients and introduces the student to the dental profession and its "culture", history, image, attitudes, ethics, professional behaviors and responsibilities, modes of thought and career tracks. The course consists of a series of lectures, small group discussions, and exercises. Panel discussions, films, cartoons, art, and case based materials are presented and discussed. This course makes heavy use of the WebCt environment for the distribution of materials, the submission of assignments, online discussions, quizzes, testing and communication among students and with the instructor. Students are required to become familiar with the use of WebCt and expected to become active participants in the course's threaded discussions and chat rooms.

Practice Management. This lecture/participation course prepares the student with information related to establish a dental practice. The student gains insight into the workings of a dental practice and learns a systematic approach to designing and organizing a dental practice. The course includes visits to private dental offices to analyze and observe a typical dental practice.

Ethics and Jurisprudence. This course applies the main sources of law that affect dentistry to real practice problems. Through a study of applicable New Jersey Statutes Annotated, New Jersey Administrative Code, ADA Code of Ethics and relevant court cases, students learn the legal basis governing a dentist's relationship with patients, allied dental health personnel, the State Board of Dentistry and the general public.

Communication in Health Care. This coursel provides students with an understanding of the etiology, manifestations of, and treatment for dental fear and anxiety. Addressing communication across varying cultural/ethnic groups, as well as managing patients with disabilities and special needs are addressed. Panel discussions with patients and clinicians are scheduled throughout the course. Issues like professional stress and burnout are also reviewed. This course provides hands-on experiences like interviewing, utilizing dental anxiety assessments, and completing a burnout inventory. Techniques to manage stress (e.g., relaxation training) and effective communication skills across patient populations are reviewed, demonstrated and practiced. The experience and the didactic material on diverse patient populations promote cultural sensitivity in patient care.

Dentistry and the Community. This course focuses on population and community characteristics that shape the need and demand for dental services. Basic terms and concepts in demography and epidemiology are reviewed. The structure of the national, state, and local populations is examined. The relationship between population composition and the need and demand for oral health care services is discussed. Special attention is focused on the oral health care needs and behaviors of minorities, women and older populations. The dentist's role in the recognition and response to substance abuse is reviewed. The use of census data and various Internet-based data sources for building community profiles is demonstrated and practiced. This course makes heavy use of WebCt for the distribution of all course materials and for communication between the instructor and students. All assignments are submitted via WebCt and all quizzes and the final examination are completed online.

Geriatrics. This third-year course focuses on the interrelationships among oral, physical, and mental health and aging of patients in independent, assisted-living and long-stay settings. Students become familiar with demographic and epidemiological trends that make care of the aged an increasingly important component of most dental practices. Key indices for measuring and describing oral health in aging are discussed and demonstrated. The interactions among the most common medical complaints, medications, and oral health are discussed. Options and alternatives for the provision of dental care of the aged in office, clinic, institutional and home setting are described and examples presented. Students visit, observe and screen patients in a nursing home setting.

Epidemiology. This first-year course focuses on the fundamentals of epidemiology and their application to understanding the distribution of oral diseases in human populations. The course makes extensive use of interactive exercises, examples, and simulations. Students will become familiar with the distribution of oral diseases, as well as oral health indices utilized in research, population and community-based research. Understanding the scientific literature is an important component of the course