The map today shows the geographic location of dentists currently practicing in the Dallas, TX area. In the process of conducting our GIS research, we noticed some areas that were heavily populated with oral health services as well as areas that are likely experiencing disparities in oral health care.
To bring awareness to the current health conditions in low-income areas in South-Dallas such as Oakcliff and other communities, the Oral Health Needs Index (OHNI) made an easy-to-access, oral health focused, Geographic Information System (GIS) based tool that allows people to find services based on their environment and resources.
Identifying dental providers who accept Medicaid/Medicare and forms of dental insurance in areas of low socioeconomic status can be difficult but it also essential in tackling disparities. With OHNI, users get a clear visualization of communities with lack of services. Lack of transportation and finding participating providers is a major barrier for low-income and rural populations. Identifying these barriers and how they contribute to health disparities experienced by under-served communities is important. It allows for a better understanding of ways to combat the health disparities in disadvantaged communities.