Priscilla Flynn receives Community-Engaged Scholar Award

School of Dentistry Associate Professor Priscilla Flynn, DrPH, MPH, RDH received the Community-Engaged Scholar Award from the University of Minnesota this month. This award recognizes faculty or staff for their exemplary publicly-engaged scholarship. Flynn’s commitment to reduce health disparities in Minnesota has included work focused on health literacy among refugee groups and low-income populations, and empowering mid-level oral health practitioners to practice in schools, nursing homes, non-profit organizations and other community-based settings.

While her teaching, research and community engagement span decades, Flynn’s steadfast focus remains on understanding the impacts of social and economic conditions on underserved communities and how to most effectively prevent disease and deliver oral health care to vulnerable populations. She has developed trusted  partnerships with state government agencies, community clinics and Somali communities in Minneapolis and Rochester.

“Through her community relationships, her scholarly inquiry and her teaching, Dr. Flynn’s work has resulted in curricular changes, delivery model improvements, changes in state law and improved relations with our community,” said Sheila Riggs, DDS, chair of the Department of Primary Dental Care at the U of M School of Dentistry.

One example of how she brings to bear her research and teaching on a community challenge involves her work with Somali community partners to identify and prevent dental disease among Somali children in childcare settings. Her research findings were shared with diverse audiences at local, state and international meetings.. Most recently, she has piloted two courses developed for dental therapists and dental hygienists to empower them to open non-profit oral health clinics serving vulnerable populations. Due to their success, the courses will be offered to currently practicing dental therapists and dental hygienists through continuing education.

Learn more about the Community-Engaged Scholars Award

Priscilla Flynn
Priscilla Flynn