Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology
NIH Endowed Chair and Director, Center for Clinical Research and Health Promotion, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR00936.
Phone: (787) 237-0009
My interests include global health, nutrition, inflammation, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, oral health and pregnancy outcomes. My research is focused on evaluating modifiable risk factors including nutritional and inflammatory risk factors for cardio-metabolic conditions.
My publications were among the first relating dental disease to chronic systemic disease, and in evaluating dietary, inflammatory and other pathways for these associations. My work also showed that tooth loss is associated with detrimental changes in intake of specific foods and nutrients, and that tooth loss and/or periodontal disease may be risk factors for type 2 diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes, pancreatic cancer, peripheral artery disease and ischemic stroke. Since dental diseases are highly prevalent, a causal association between dental disease and systemic disease could have important implications for millions of people. Importantly, dental conditions may be modifiable risk factor for several systemic diseases.
I received an NIH grant for mentoring students and junior faculty. I am currently completing nested case control studies to evaluate the relation between periodontal disease, inflammatory serum biomarkers, ischemic stroke and peripheral vascular disease. I have initiated a new NIH funded cohort study in Puerto Rico, a US territory with a Spanish speaking Hispanic population. The primary goal of this cohort study is to evaluate the bi-directional association between progression of periodontal disease and glucose abnormalities among overweight and obese individuals. I also plan to evaluate nutritional risk factors for glucose abnormalities, insulin resistance and pre-diabetes within this cohort.
I have taught methodological courses and co-directed the Oral Epidemiology Program at HSPH. I am currently teaching the Global Oral Epidemiology course at Harvard School of Public Health. I serve as an advisor to the American Dental Association and have also served as an advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Association of Periodontology and the World Health Organization.
Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Bombay University, 1982
MS in Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, 1989
ScD in Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 1995
Board Certified in Dental Public Health, 1999