HPM student named winner of APHA award

June 26, 2012
Ashley Kranz

Ashley Kranz

Ashley Kranz, health policy and management doctoral student at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been selected by the American Public Health Association’s oral health section as winner of the 2012 Anthony Westwater Jong Memorial Community Dental Health Post-Professional Student Award.

The award recognizes an outstanding community-based research or service project relating to oral health and conducted by someone currently enrolled in a public health graduate program.
With assistance from Gary Rozier, DDS, professor of health policy and management and chair of Kranz’s dissertation committee, Kranz applied for the award by submitting a brief narrative about one aim of her dissertation. Her study compared effects of preventive dental services (supplied by dentists, primary care providers, both or neither) received before age three on children’s having dental caries (cavities) and the proportion of untreated decayed teeth in a cohort of kindergarten children enrolled in Medicaid in North Carolina.
Only 36 percent of children received preventive dental services before three years of age, with most children receiving care from a primary care provider (PCP). The experience of dental caries at five years of age was similar for children receiving preventive dental services from primary care providers and dentists, suggesting that the setting and provider of preventive dental services do not influence the effectiveness of these services.
Children visiting PCPs rather than dentists had a higher proportion of untreated decayed teeth, which may indicate challenges to accessing dentists when children are no longer eligible for PCP oral health services.
“In my opinion, Ashley’s degree of independent effort is in the top 10 percentile of doctoral students,” Rozier said. “She is providing an important evaluation of a statewide effort in North Carolina that reflects many public health principles including innovation, collaboration and data-driven solutions to a well-recognized problem.”
Kranz will accept the award in a ceremony on Oct. 29 at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in San Francisco.
“I am honored to receive this important award,” Kranz said. “This research was conducted with the help of my extremely supportive and encouraging dissertation committee.”
The Anthony Westwater Jong Memorial Community Dental Health awards were established in 2006 in memory of the late Anthony Westwater Jong and in recognition of his commitment to community-based dental public health, his strong and highly acclaimed mentoring of students, and his emphasis on the importance of state, local and community-based public health action.


UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or linda_kastleman@unc.edu.