Gerardo Maupomé (Public Health)

IUPUI Faculty Profile: Gerardo Maupomé
Professor, Associate Dean of Research, (Acting) Associate Dean of Public Health Practice
Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

Expanding Knowledge and Access

Dr. Gerardo Maupomé is Professor and Associate Dean of Research in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health (FSPH) at Indiana University. He was a Professor with the IU School of Dentistry from 2005 until 2017. He also has multiple adjunct/affiliated positions within IU, including the Indiana University Network Science Institute and in 2020, he became Associate Director of the Community Health Partnerships (CHeP), with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

Dr. Maupomé’s work focuses on dental public health, population health, dental health services, global health, social and behavioral sciences, and health disparities. The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) recognized his work in 2019 as a co-recipient of 2019 Giddon Award for Distinguished Research in the Behavioral Sciences, and in 2022 he received an IADR Distinguished Scientist Award. In 2021, he was also recognized by the IUPUI Center for Translating Research Into Practice with the 2021 Bantz-Petronio TRIP Faculty Award.

Research Interests

Dr. Maupomé’s research interests align with the SDGs and include epidemiological studies assessing the impact of public health fluoridation, clinical trials of chlorhexidine varnishes, and the promotion of healthier lifestyles. He is also engaged in appraisals of factors contributing to poor oral health and the failure to access dental services, with particular attention to the social and economic determinants of health. Many of his studies have been focused on Native Americans, people of Hispanic origin, those 65 years of age and older, children, and population groups with restricted access to dental services.

Current Projects

Dr. Maupome is currently the Chief Innovation Officer with the IUPUI ECHO Center, where the goal is to improve clinical and public health practices in real life. Project ECHO uses technology to leverage scarce resources, reduce disparities in care by de-monopolizing knowledge, provide case-based learning to enhance mastery of complex information and increase impact, and monitor outcomes. Project Echo is a partnership between local primary care providers and the Fairbanks school to improve access to high quality treatment for common, complex and chronic diseases, with support from interdisciplinary teams of medical specialists.

Dr. Maupomé is also leading an NIH-funded, six-year study on the oral health status, dental care use, mental health, and overall well-being of Hispanics in Indiana. The link between access to clinical services and social dynamics among Hispanic immigrants has been a long-standing focus of Dr. Maupomé’s work. By identifying the evolution of personal and community networks and the impact of such network factors in improving or undermining health outcomes, this project is affording a unique perspective to leverage future interventions.

Another significant study conducted by Dr. Maupomé and his team focused on the impact of sugar consumption on dental health among Hispanic immigrants. Data were analyzed for the ties between high sugar consumption and decline in dental health and a manual to support the exploration and discovery of dental issues for people otherwise left out of the dental care market was developed. This resource grew organically from focus groups, key informant interviews, administering a survey to about 200 immigrants, and analyzing data. The manual is entitled “Dental Health Inequities Affecting Central Americans: Enabling Choices at the Grass-Root Level and Supporting Change in Policy-Makers”.

Additional research addressing SDGs 3, 10, and 17 is Dr. Maupome’s work on a Hispanic-focused survey in collaboration with the IU Simon Cancer Center about the state of health and cancer throughout Indiana. An earlier survey gathered considerable information about ‘mainstream’ residents in Indiana, whereas the new approach sampled those segments of the Hispanic population most likely to have been undercounted in the first survey. The research expands the knowledge base about risk factors, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors related to cancer experience and cancer treatment overall.

A further example of Dr. Maupome’s SDG-related work is an assessment of COVID-19 impacts on Hispanics. There is little doubt that Hispanics are one of the groups hardest hit by the COVID-19 epidemic. They often are hourly workers with unstable employment and inadequate benefits; undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for public assistance protection or access to health care; persons with limited schooling who are less able to navigate government support opportunities; and living as isolated families or individuals who may not have peers to rely on when catastrophic financial situations arise. To address gaps in the COVID-19 body of knowledge relevant to Hispanics, Dr. Maupome designed a survey to support the assembling of reliable, context-specific, and actionable resources for the community to meet health challenges.

Expanding such knowledge about the health of vulnerable communities in Indiana is key to improving health outcomes. Such dedicated research and its application can make significant headway in ameliorating health disparities in our state.

Glocalization and Hispanic Immigrants - Making the World a Better Place with the SDGs

Gerardo Maupomé presented his work in a 5-minute video as a part of the 2022 IUPUI International Festival - IUPUI SDG Day.