AAOM Member Temitope Omolehinwa is Taking on HIV and Oral Health

Taking on HIV and Oral Health

Embarking on a new study of people living with HIV, the School of Dental Medicine’s Temitope Omolehinwa hopes to build data on an understudied issue.

Temitope Omolehinwa got into dentistry wanting to be a clinician, not conduct research. But over the past several years, the pull of research has been impossible to resist.

“I couldn’t help myself,” says Omolehinwa, an assistant professor of oral medicine at Penn Dental Medicine (PDM). “I saw trends in the clinic and I wanted answers.”

She’s on the cusp of launching an investigation—her first as a principal investigator—that aims to provide answers to the many questions that surround the oral health, systemic health, and treatment of people living with HIV. Funded with $3.75 million over five years by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH/NIDCR), the longitudinal study will result in a robust database that Omolehinwa and others will mine for clues to offer better care to those who are HIV-positive.

“Over the years I have had patients saying to me, ‘If you ever move on with a study, please count me in,’” says Omolehinwa, who is director of the Medically Complex Care (MCC) Clinic at the School, which serves more than 700 people with HIV. “They’re very interested in being a part of whatever efforts will advance HIV care. I’m glad we’re now working to make that happen.”

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Original article published on Penn Today