Dr Caoimhin MacGiolla Phadraig
I see research as a tool with which to effect change in society. My interests are broad and include oral health ageing in intellectual disability, oral health service development, oral health promotion, epidemiology, and teaching. I have been involved in a number of research programmes, which I describe below.
1. IDS TILDA (The Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal StuDy on Ageing) is a multi-departmental longitudinal study. I coordinate the analysis of data and publication of articles regarding the dental items included in this study. This involves interdepartmental collaboration between the School of Dental Science and School of Nursing and Midwifery. Cohort studies of Nationally representative samples within populations with ID are a rarity. There are no dental data available in the literature on this topic. The analysis of future waves of data promises an interesting field of research. Output from this research has developed the understanding of barriers faced by people with ID as they age and the implications of inappropriate healthcare and service design on health and nutrition.
2. Project SMILE Ireland is an action research project, which I conceived, initiated and lead. The aim is to use the research process to bring about change in the delivery of dental services for people with disabilities in Ireland. This project has used Delphi Method and Qualitative methods to explore the preferred features of dental services for people with disabilities in Ireland. The field is important as it aims to use research to directly achieve benefit for vulnerable groups in society. Currently, in collaboration with PhD students at the School of Dental Science, I use the emerging methods of realist synthesis to explore theories to inform better oral health promotion for people with ID across life transitions.
3. Train the Trainer is a complex evaluation of an oral health promotion intervention among people with intellectual disabilities. This is a collaborative work package involving HSE and Non-governmental organisations.
4. Attitudes towards People with Disabilities are a set of studies I have designed to measure attitudes towards people with disabilities among students in the dental school. This area is important as International consensus in undergraduate dental education focuses on improving healthcare by changing attitudes of our future healthcare workers.