Curtis, Denice

Assistant Professor,

DHSc, NOVA Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 2010
MPH, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, 1996
DDS, Central University of Quito, Ecuador, 1980

Dr. Curtis is a public health practitioner and educator who has more than 30 years of experience working in the public health areas of program evaluation, chronic and infectious diseases, health prevention and promotion, qualitative and quantitative research, and program development. Her research interests focus on developing community-based participatory research projects that address oral health issues and eliminate health disparities.

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3043-593X
ResearcherID:

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Assessing self-reported oral health status of three Andean indigenous communities...
Assessing self-reported oral health status of three Andean indigenous communities...
Aims: The aim of this study was to assess how individuals in three rural communities in Ecuador self-rate their oral health status. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study that utilized a survey to assess the community awareness of risk factors for oral health. Because fluorosis is an issue that affects these communities, local water systems were tested for excess fluoride. Results: One hundred and eighty-five individuals aged 18 years and older participated in the study. Two-thirds of the participants described the state of their teeth as average or poor and more than half stated that they had sought dental care due to pain and need for treatment during the past year. Age and education had a statistically significant effect on how people described the state of their teeth. Significant associations were found between number of years of education and age and number of natural teeth the participants had (rs = 0.43, n = 177, P ≤ 0.001; rs= −0.53, n = 178, P ≤ 0.001). Likewise, significant associations were found between number of years of education and age and how participants described the state of their teeth (rs= −0.228, n = 177, P ≤ 0.001; −0.617, n = 177; P < 0.001). A very high-fluoride level (4.86 mg/L) was found in one of the communities. Conclusions: Social and physical determinants of health seem to have a significant impact on the oral health of rural communities in Ecuador. Lack of regular access to dental care and low levels of education are important barriers for oral health in these communities., Online, Journal Article
Assessing the Oral Health Status of Three Indigenous Communities in Ecuador
Assessing the Oral Health Status of Three Indigenous Communities in Ecuador
Poster presented at 2016 APHA meeting in Denver, Colorado., The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of social determinants of health such as educational level, oral hygiene practices, environmental exposure to fluoride, diet/nutrition, tobacco use and alcohol consumption, and availability of oral health services on the oral health of individuals in three rural communities in Ecuador.
Assessing the oral health status of three indigenous communities in Ecuador
Assessing the oral health status of three indigenous communities in Ecuador
Purpose:To assess the impact of social determinants of health such as diet/nutrition, tobacco use and alcohol consumption, education level, oral hygiene practices, environmental exposure to fluoride, and availability of oral health services on oral health in three rural communities in Ecuador. Methods: This will be a cross-sectional descriptive study that will utilize a survey to assess the community awareness of risk factors for oral health. Approximately 140 individuals 18 years and older will participate in the study. Non--probability consecutive sampling method will be used to recruit the participants who meet the inclusion criteria as they become available. In addition to collecting data about risk factors and behaviors related to oral health, in these communities, we plan to conduct a brief Caries Risk Indicator/Clinical examination of approximately 200 school age children (7-12 years) in order to assess: a) obvious white spots, decalcification, obvious decay, and presence of fluorosis; b) restorations placed in the last 2 years; c) obvious presence of plaque on the teeth and bleeding gums; and d) absence of permanent teeth. Because fluorosis is an issue that affects these communities, we plan to test the local water for excess fluoride. This research project will be coordinated with staff from the University of San Francisco in Quito-Ecuador (SFQU). Dentists and dental hygienists attending a class at the SFQU will participate in the project. Discussion: By conducting research about oral health issues in a developing country such as Ecuador, we hope to show the disparities that exist in the oral health status among subgroups (i.e. rural vs urban) as well as the impact of lack of access to oral health care and education on oral health outcomes., Narrative
Assessing the oral health status of three indigenous communities in Ecuador:...
Assessing the oral health status of three indigenous communities in Ecuador:...
Presentation given at multiple venues: FPHA meeting 2016 in Orlando, 2016 meeting at multiple universities in Quito, Ecuador.
Behavioral risk factor surveillance system: Health risk behaviors of Kansans...
Behavioral risk factor surveillance system: Health risk behaviors of Kansans...
To determine risk factors for chronic and communicable diseases and injuries, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment utilizes the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to conduct a representative state-wide telephone survey of Kansas residents, aged 18 and older. Throughout the 1998 calendar year, 3,803 Kansans were surveyed to assess their knowledge, attitudes, health behaviors, and other factors that contribute to injury, disability, disease, and premature death in Kansas. Highlights from the Kansas 1998 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey are presented below., Final report published, Grant Report
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Can Christian divorce support groups influence forgiveness and health outcomes...
Can Christian divorce support groups influence forgiveness and health outcomes...
Christian divorce support groups offer a community-based approach to help divorcees heal from their divorce. Yet, their effectiveness in ethnically diverse populations has not been fully elucidated. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate if Christian divorce support groups influence the forgiveness process and lead to improved self-reported health outcomes in Black Christian divorcees. Surveys and focus groups were used to evaluate key variables in 43 participants. Findings demonstrate participation in Christian divorce support groups positively influences forgiveness levels and health outcomes in Black Christians. These findings have religious, mental health, and clinical implications., Final article published, Journal Article
Chapter Six: Quality
Chapter Six: Quality
Health Centers strive to deliver quality care that leads to positive patient outcomes. In 1990, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) defined quality of care as "the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge."' Because of the pivotal role health care quality plays in service delivery, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) requires all Health Centers to regularly measure and improve the quality of care within their programs. This chapter explores two facets of an oral health quality program: quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI). QA is a set of processes focused on the continual monitoring of health care delivery. QI builds on baseline data from QA processes to develop a data-driven plan focused on improvement in oral health care. Both QA and QI focus on measuring success by achieving goals over a period of time. While there are several models for quality improvement, this chapter focuses on two utilized by the HRSA/BPHC Health Disparities Collaboratives-the Chronic Care Model and the Model for Improvement. This chapter also emphasizes the importance of staying up-to-date with electronic dental record (EDR) developments and emerging health concepts, such as patient-centered health homes,* population-based care, and care integration and collaboration, as they will influence both the definition of quality, as well as improvement efforts. Several resources, tools, and links are also provided for oral health programs to implement or enhance their QI programs., Book Chapter, Published
Describing the prevalence of Salmonella in children 0-19 in select Florida counties...
Describing the prevalence of Salmonella in children 0-19 in select Florida counties...
Purpose: To describe trends in Salmonella in children among six Florida counties to see if an education program tailored to a specific group is needed Methods: Data from the surveillance system “Merlin” was used and demographic variables such as gender, race, ethnicity, and age were evaluated in Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Orange, Broward, and Escambia county. County rates-per 100,000 were compared along with trends in Salmonella per county. Results: Steady Salmonella rates were shown in most counties, the highest rates found in Escambia county. In all six counties, Salmonella rates were highest among white non-Hispanic females aged 1-4 years old. Conclusion: The steady salmonella rates over the last 5 years show that this infection is a statewide problem and an education program is needed. Salmonella rates are highest in children under 5 years of age, therefore education programs should be tailored towards this group., Poster
Developing a hospital-specific electronic inpatient fall surveillance program...
Developing a hospital-specific electronic inpatient fall surveillance program...
Patient falls in hospitals continue to exist as a serious societal problem. The purpose of this study was to analyze nurses’ perceptions of patient fall risk factors that may be used to develop an electronic patient decision support system to prevent patient falls. A survey was distributed to 150 nurses in a moderate-size hospital system in Central Florida (200+ beds). Survey questions were developed to identify 3 fall risk factor categories: patient-centered, operational, and critical. Sixty-five surveys (43.3%)were returned. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages were calculated on all study variables. All participants indicated they were familiar with the circumstances that have contributed to falls or near-falls of patients. Findings included the majority of nurses perceived both patient-centered and operational factors increased the risks for patient falls, with pertinent results indicating a lack of appropriate ambulatory device (90.8%), low to very low nurse staffing levels (87.7%), and a history of a fall within the past year (73.8%) increased the risk for falls. The nurses’ perceptions define a standard medical terminology that can be recorded in electronic progress notes and programmed to quickly link to additional sources of fall risk data (eg, laboratory work, medications) housed within the hospital’s electronic health record. Further research is needed to assess the feasibility of an electronic health record–based system to prevent hospital falls using risk factors identified in this and other studies., Final article published, Journal Article
Evaluation of community health assessment in Kansas
Evaluation of community health assessment in Kansas
This article evaluates the status of community health assessment in Kansas. It describes community characteristics associated with community health assessment completion, factors contributing to success, as well as barriers and limitations that prevented Kansas communities from initiating a community health assessment or completing the process. Survey findings show that certain community characteristics such as interagency cooperation, history of success at problem solving, and shared decisionmaking power are strongly associated with completion of a community health assessment. Results also indicate that factors such as lack of leadership, money, and time as well as poor functioning coalitions may hinder the completion of community health assessment., final article published, Journal Article
Femoral neck stress fracture in Air Force basic trainees
Femoral neck stress fracture in Air Force basic trainees
Stress fractures are a common overuse problem among military trainees resulting in preventable morbidity, prolonged training, and long-term disability following military service. Femoral neck stress fractures (FNSFs) account for 2% of all stress fractures but result in disproportionate burden in terms of cost and convalescence. The purpose of this study was to describe and investigate FNSF in U.S. Air Force basic trainees and to present new data on risks factors for developing FNSF. We examined 47 cases of FNSF occurring in Air Force basic trainees between 2008 and 2011 and 94 controls using a matched case–control model. Analysis with t tests and conditional logistic regression found the risk of FNSF was not associated with body mass index or abdominal circumference. Female gender ( p < 0.001) and slower run time significantly increased risk of FNSF (1.49 OR, p < 0.001; 95% CI 1.19–1.86). A greater number of push-up and sit-up repetitions significantly reduced risk of FNSF (0.55 OR, p = 0.03; 95% CI 0.32–0.93; 0.62 OR, p = 0.04; 95% CI 0.4–0.98) for females. In this study body mass index was not correlated with FNSF risk; however, physical fitness level on arrival to training and female gender were significantly associated with risk of FNSF., Final article published, Journal Article

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