An interoperable learning health care system is instrumental in gaining new knowledge and wisdom. It serves as a continuous litmus test for the efficient delivery of oral and general health care through evidence-based research.
Research Scientist, Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical Informatics, Regenstrief Institute
Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Dentistry
Dr. Gomez received her Bachelors in Dental Surgery degree from Tamilnadu Government Dental College, Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. She completed her Master of Public Health Degree at the University of Toledo, Ohio. Subsequently, she completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Dental Sciences at Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD). Dr. Gomez pursued her Dental Public Health residency at Case Western Reserve University, School of Dental Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio following which, she joined IUSD in September 2020 as a postdoctoral research fellow under the mentorship of Thankam Thyvalikakath, DMD, MS, PhD in the Division of Dental informatics. She currently serves as a full-time Assistant Professor in the Dental Informatics Division of the Department of Dental Public Health and Informatics at IUSD.
Dr. Gomez’s long-term career goal is to expand the field of dental research by utilizing informatics approaches, teaching, and service through new learning and knowledge . Her overall vision is to provide comprehensive multi-generational oral care, with specific focus on older adults in dental clinical settings through collaborative and integrative research. She leverages her background in clinical dentistry, public health and incorporates her basic science and informatics knowledge to translate research-based evidence to the point of care.
Dr. Gomez also uses informatics approaches to promote oral and overall health. Her work incorporates informatics into epidemiologic surveillance, disease prevention, the promotion of oral health for overall systemic health improvement, and for providing access to oral health care services for socially and economically disadvantaged populations.
Assess the use of malnutrition screening (MS) tool to identify denture wearers’ risk for malnutrition
(Delta Dental Foundation)
Role: Principal Investigator
The overall aim of this study is to leverage clinical research methods to determine screening denture patients’ risk for malnutrition in dental practices and further to guide its implementation in dental settings. The study’s research methods and data analysis are organized to focus on the potential implementation of an MS tool in a dental practice workflow for denture wearers. Achieving this goal will improve older adults’ oral health and dental care, as well as promote general health by applying informatics approaches that would help to monitor and integrate care between dental and medical care providers. As the first step in our long-term goal, the aims of this study are to determine screening denture patients’ malnutrition risk using three pre-selected validated malnutrition screening (MS) tools and to compare with the patients’ 24-hour dietary intake and serological tests. The results will validate the use of these screening tools in dental clinic settings and also correlate the screening tool results with the dietary intake and serology test results. A cohort of denture-wearing patients will complete three validated MS tools and provide blood samples for correlating their risk for malnutrition with the pre-selected serological tests for nutritional markers. Results will be compared with two 24-hour dietary intake recalls, considered the gold standard for measuring dietary intake.
Development and evaluation of patient medical summary from health information exchange to improve dental care
This application aims to develop and evaluate a usable patient medical summary (PMS) imported from the state-wide community Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) that updates a dental clinician (DC) about their patients’ medical history and can be used even in solo- and small-group dental practice settings. The two primary outcomes are reducing dental clinicians’ reliance on patients and physicians’ office for information that delays treatment and reducing patients’ burden to share information with DCs. The proposed study will lay the foundation for bidirectional communication between dental and medical professionals that enhances dental and overall care among the US population, promotes preventive management, and reduces dental care costs.
Evaluation of Oral Health and Dental Treatment Outcomes of Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS) Patients
Role: Key Personnel
This project aims to validate the study cohort of SS diagnosis and oral hard tissue findings, characterize dental caries outcomes, and assess the longevity of dental restorations using linked dental and medical electronic health records (EHR) of patients with confirmed SS from the IU School of Dentistry and Indiana Network for Patient Care respectively.