Published by: michadmin on April 26th, 2012
By: Cheryl Greenberg
I have known Dr. Schroth for approximately 5 years and he is a member of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine. He is a Dentist in the Faculty of Dentistry who has recently received his PhD. He is a true clinician scientist with an established, successful and innovative research program on Oral Health in children, specifically their Vitamin D status and that of their mothers. Dr. Schroth’s research program has now received national funding. As a new Faculty member, he was also recently been awarded an MMSF/MHRC Clinical Research Professorship in Population Medicine in recognition of his expertise as a researcher and the relevance of his research to child health.
Dr. Schroth has published several papers on the epidemiology of Early Childhood Caries in different Manitoba populations, including First Nations and Aboriginal children, those from rural regions of the province, and those residing in disadvantaged regions of Winnipeg. This work has been instrumental in documenting the problem of tooth decay in infant and preschool children in Manitoba. He and his colleagues have developed successful partnerships to address the problem of Early Childhood Caries in Manitoba. They have been able to assist communities in identifying unique risk factors for severe dental caries and shared this information with them in order to foster prevention ideas at the local level. This is important and needed work as pediatric dental surgery to rehabilitate children with Early Childhood Caries is the most common pediatric day surgical procedure for children in Manitoba. Each year, more than 2300 children undergo dental surgery under general anesthesia.
His doctoral work has also provided very important data on the association between maternal vitamin D concentrations during pregnancy and their influence on the dental status of their offspring. Dr. Schroth is currently working on manuscripts, but his work shows that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy is significantly associated with the development of caries in infants. He and his past PhD supervisor (Dr. Michael Moffatt) are the first known team to explore this connection. This research has actually helped to inform and support a vitamin D intervention project that Dr. Schroth and I are presently working on with other individuals. We are in the midst of a study that has provided high dose vitamin D supplements to pregnant women in order to improve her and her newborn’s vitamin D levels. This prospective study will soon begin to start examining the general and dental health of their babies to determine whether the benefit of supplementation has had an impact on childhood dental and general health.
Dr. Schroth has also been successful in obtaining grant support as an independent investigator. His team has recently completed recruitment on a study comparing the nutritional health of children undergoing dental surgery compared with cavity-free children. This is important work as there is very little information as to how severe forms of dental decay might affect a child’s nutritional profile. Preliminary results that he has shared with me indicate that kids undergoing dental surgery appear to be more likely to have lower vitamin D levels, lower albumin levels, and more likely to be iron deficient than their cavity-free peers. He is a team player who has been able to develop partnerships with other academics (outside of dentistry), health care decision-makers, and communities. He co-leads the Healthy Smile Happy Child initiative that relies upon community-development principles to promote oral health and reduce the incidence of caries among preschool children. He is a co-investigator on a newly funded CIHR project that is using a multi-pronged approach to prevent caries in Aboriginal children and has co-authored joint Canadian Paediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics position statements on Early Childhood Caries in Indigenous populations. He is involved in innovative team work and is currently partnering with the WRHA’s Research and Evaluation Unit to undertake geo-mapping of dental surgery data and data from the evaluation of the Manitoba Dental Association’s Free First Visit program to identify regions of the province where there is the greatest need for continued oral health prevention and promotion efforts.
In addition to his dedication to child health research, Dr. Schroth now practices dentistry in the community at two inner-city programs, Mount Carmel Clinic and Access Downtown. His experiences working with vulnerable pediatric populations helps generate important research questions that helps Dr. Schroth to be the totally committed researcher that he is. He is a clinician scientist who is committed to knowledge translation and improving the oral health of children in Manitoba.