December 7, 2021

Gartner Innovation Award Given to Collaborative "MPATHI" Project

With the goal of creating innovations that enhance the dental care provided for patients, three faculty members contributed to a project that recently won a Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Healthcare and Life Sciences for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH). Those faculty are Homa Amini, DDS, MS, MPH, Professor-Clinical in the Division of Pediatric Dentistry; Canise Bean, DMD, MPH, Professor-Clinical in the Division of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry and Director of Community Education; and Janice Townsend, DDS, MS, Chief of Pediatric Dentistry at Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) and Chair of the college's Division of Pediatric Dentistry.

Working with other healthcare professionals at Ohio State and NCH, Drs. Amini, Bean, and Townsend contributed to the development of a project called MPATHI -- also known as "Making Professionals Able THrough Immersion." This virtual reality-based program helps train dental professionals to be more empathetic by exposing them to "virtual" situations in which they provide simulated dental care for [virtual] patients who struggle with financial challenges, food insecurity, limited health literacy, and language barriers.

The program was developed by a team that included Ohio State's Colleges of Dentistry and Medicine; Nationwide Children's Hospital and its Department of Pediatric Dentistry; and the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.