George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Nursing Student Receives AANP Grant to Support Doctoral Project on Oral Health

December 8, 2015

Loretta Vece, a student in the doctor of nursing practice program, has received a $2,500 grant from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners to support her doctoral project on oral health care.

Vece’s project, “Integrating Oral Healthcare into Primary Care Nurse Managed Health Centers,” has two goals: 1) to establish basic oral care into the Mason and Partners (MAP) clinics through an oral health delivery framework; and 2) to establish educational and clinical processes for integrating oral health competencies into Mason’s undergraduate and graduate nursing curriculum.

Her inspiration for the project came from caring for patients in the MAP clinics during the past two years, and witnessing the need for oral health care in those vulnerable populations who are at high risk of developing cavities, periodontitis, and other oral diseases.

“So many of the children I cared for in the MAP clinics had severe dental issues, rotted teeth, and tooth pain. People in the United States are two-and-a-half times more likely to lack dental coverage than medical coverage, and vulnerable populations are at high risk of these oral disease,” Vece said.

The grant will help cover educational materials for patients and the School of Nursing, as well as provide patient care supplies, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to project participants.

“This project has inspired me to get involved and make a difference for my patients,” Vece said. “It has taught me that one person can make a difference. I now sit on the Virginia Oral Health Coalition Clinical Advisory Board and hope to be able to help others learn to integrate oral care into their practices, as well as advocate for oral health care for vulnerable populations throughout Virginia.”

Schools & Programs