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Mary Tavares, DMD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Instructor, Department of Oral Health Policy / Epidemiology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Mary Tavares’ research is closely linked to Forsyth’s founding mission, with an emphasis on both clinical and public health research. As a board-certified Public Health Dentist, she has focused her research and teaching on impacting the oral health of the public. She has conducted seminal research on clinical outcomes including: research confirming the safety of silver amalgam fillings, patient satisfaction with dental treatment, and oral health disparities. Dr.Tavares seeks to integrate oral and systemic health and find ways for the dental profession to expand its scope. She has developed an intervention for childhood obesity in the context of routine dental visits and, as an investigator in the Kuwait Healthy Lifestyle study, she examined the effects of sleep and diet on obesity, metabolic syndrome and oral health. Working with Dr. Max Goodson and several of her doctoral students, she has been a co-author on many publications related to this study.

Dr. Tavares is an inaugural member of the Kuwait-Forsyth School Oral Health Program (SOHP) and she continues to play an active role in that program, along with Dr. Pramod Soparkar. She frequently provides lectures to the SOHP dentists in clinical research methodology, oral-systemic interactions, and caries management. She has worked with the leadership team of SOHP to shift the focus from treatment to caries management for the 300,000 children in the program.

As the current Principal Investigator of the Kuwait Healthy Lifestyle Study, she secured funding through the Collaboration Grants offered by Forsyth to collect a third round of data and biological samples from a small subset of the subjects that enrolled in 2011. The data collection, which occurred in spring of 2019, included blood and saliva samples. Analyses of these samples are ongoing and it is hoped that the blood samples will validate biomarker findings using saliva. A grant proposal to NIH, based on this work, is forthcoming. The Forsyth team working on this initiative includes Alp Kantarci, Hatice Hasturk, Markus Hardt, Hend Alqaderi, Chung-Jung Chiu, and Max Goodson.

St. Peter’s College, BA, 1971, Sociology
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, DMD, 1977, Dentistry
Harvard School of Public Health, MPH, 1980, Public Health
Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry, Certificate, 1981, Public Health

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