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Dental Therapy: Filling the gaps in dental disparities

Photo courtesy University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

The next time you’re in a dental office, there’s a chance your clinician might say, “Hi, I’m the dental therapist who will be working with you today.” More of these providers are entering the market each year thanks to innovative programs like the one found at the University of Minnesota. As a result, more and more Minnesotans are getting exposed to dental therapists.

But some patients still have questions around what a dental therapist actually is and the type of work they’re licensed to perform. Here’s some quick background.

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A short look back and long look ahead

For the last three years, I have had the unique opportunity to lead the Academic Health Center, supporting an ambitious and inspiring mission to improve health across the spectrum of prevention and care.

Next week will mark a new chapter both for me and for the Academic Health Center.  Brooks Jackson will assume the role of Vice President of Health Sciences, and I will rejoin the faculty of the Medical School.

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A look forward on World AIDS Day 2013

Editor’s note: The following was adapted from a Program in Human Sexuality email authored by Eli Coleman to honor World AIDS Day 2013.

Medical advances, improved access to care, prevention initiatives, and our nation’s aspiration of an AIDS-free generation are all good signs, but as a culture we will need to shift our perspective to stop the spread of HIV.

Over the last 30 years, where have we failed?

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The case for expanding sexuality education in medical school

The start of a new school year is a great time to reflect on education and the opportunities for growth within the educational system. Within the University of Minnesota’s health sciences programs, we try to continuously review our approach to health education to ensure that we’re seizing on such opportunities and positioning our programs for success wherever we can.

Along those lines, it’s been evident for some time now that we face a crisis in declining curriculum on sexuality education in medical schools across the United States and Canada. There is a clear need to better prepare medical students to be able to attend the myriad of sexual health problems their patients face.

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New proposed rules for imported food

Photo: Martyn Wright via Flickr CC

Food today is sourced from all over the world. Grapes from Chile, hazelnuts from Oregon, honey from China, you name it – what fills your stomach today often comes from miles away.

The many different food safety standards and complex supply chains can make it challenging to identify and prevent food-related problems. Threats stem from Mother Nature and food system failure from intentional contamination for economic, criminal or terrorist reasons.

To combat the risks from imported food, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed two new rules as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed by President Barack Obama in 2011. These rules aim to raise the food safety standards on imported foods and shift policies from reactive to more proactive solutions.

But why propose such rules now? Why hasn’t something similar been in place all along?

National Center for Food Protection and Defense experts Amy Kircher and John T. Hoffman share.

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Cocoa butter equivalent: The future of chocolate?

Photo: Everjean via Flickr CC

When demand for a commodity outstrips its supply, manufacturers must look for alternative ingredients to substitute into their products in order to maintain profit margins. Such has been the case in the chocolate industry during recent times.

The global cocoa deficit this year is expected to widen to 47,000 metric tons as diseases and replacement crops are leading to meager cocoa yields in Indonesia, Asia’s primary cocoa producing country.

Although there are reportedly sufficient market stocks for the remainder of the year, the increasing gap between global appetite and chocolate resources is causing cocoa price projections to continue to rise.

Fear not, chocolate lovers, for there’s a new ingredient in town. While cocoa butter has historically been preferred over cocoa butter equivalent (CBE) as a fat source in chocolate products, in the coming years the balance is projected to shift in favor of CBEs.

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