Alumni Spotlight

Nicole Holland, MS-HCOM'12

Nicole Holland, MS-HCOM'12, is on a mission to improve health literacy

Nicole Holland was still a dental student working in the clinics when she began to see the bigger picture. She dutifully taught her patients how to take care of their teeth at home, but they usually didn’t follow through. She figured there had to be a better way to reach them. The majority of dental disease is preventable, she says, so “where is that disconnect?”

That’s the question Holland, who once had envisioned a purely clinical career, is determined to answer as Tufts School of Dental Medicine’s first director of health communication, education and promotion. Educating patients about the importance of home care is one step toward oral health literacy. But Holland, also an assistant professor in the department of public health and community service, wonders how dentists can best bridge the gap between what patients know and what they do. She is looking at oral health literacy from all angles.

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