Departments & Divisions
Institutes & Centers
Melanie V Taverna, MSDH, RDH
Assistant Professor/Clinical Faculty
Director of Online Dental Hygiene Graduate Programs/Asst. Director of South Texas Oral Health Network
Co-Director South Texas Oral Health Network (SToHN)
I have been a part of the dental field since 1984. First as office manager, then as a dental hygienist (1999). I began my sojourn in education and research in 2009 when I started in the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Program and with subsequent employment at UT Health San Antonio, Division of Dental Hygiene in 2011.
Since becoming faculty here, my focus, beyond teaching, has been in research about oral health and the geriatric population. My goal is to increase interprofessional collaboration in research to improve the health of our elders. January 2015 I was appointed Director of Dental Hygiene Online Graduate Programs where I strive to continually improve the quality of research produced by our students.
I am an active contributor to the Southwest Region of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN) with an accepted project about Xerostomia.
In 2016 I became the Asst. Director of The South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN) a group of South Texas dental practitioners. In 2016 I initiated the inaugural Dental Hygiene STOHN. This sub-PBRN enrolled dental hygienists in private practice and education. These PBRNs focus on practice-based research to disseminate findings from research into practice.
- 2011 - MS - Dental Hygiene - UT Health Science Center
- 1999 - Certificate - Dental Hygiene - UT Health Science Center at San Antonio
- 1983 - BFA - 2 Dimensional Art - University of Texas at San Antonio
- 8/2016 - Co-Director of STOHN (South Texas Oral Health Network) - UT Health Science Center
- 8/2015 - Adviser to NDPBRN - UT Health Science Center, Dental Hygiene
- 2/2015 - Director of Online Dental Hygiene Graduate Programs - UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.San Antonio
Research & Grants
Practice-based oral health research,
Funding Agency IIMS Community Engagement Small Project Grants Program Title Engaging the Community to Enhance Awareness of Probiotic Use for Oral Health Status Active Period 4/2019 - Present Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail Aim I: Preparation and planning:
a) The STOHN research coordinator will recruit and enroll participants and plan the TOPs (Technology of Participation) sessions.
b) A ToPs expert will be recruited to conduct the consensus building sessions. The first session will consist of community members and the second session will consist of STOHN practitioners. The team will draw on local common knowledge from diverse groups of individuals on the content, appearance, readability, cultural competency and informational resources.
c) The community members and practitioners will be asked to prioritize the health promotion materials they would like to see developed, such as posters, flyers, brochures etc.?
Aim II: Development of consensus for health promotion materials:
a) Summarize the results from the TOPs sessions (Aim I) to address the development of content that is easy to understand, culturally competent and provides outside resource information.
b) evaluate the materials for content and face-validity using individual interviews with community partners.
Aim III: Final expert review of the contents:
a) A final expert review of the health promotion materials (Aim II) will be done by ten STOHN oral health practitioners.
b) A final draft of the health promotions material will be developed.
Aim IV: Dissemination: The health promotions materials will be disseminated to community partners and STOHN clinical practices for patient use and the results from the study will be submitted for local/national/international professional meetings Funding Agency CTSA (CESPG) Title Novel Use of a Web Application to Increase Awareness of Dry Mouth in The Community Status Active Period 4/2018 - 4/2019 Role Co-Principal Investigator Grant Detail Grant Detail: The health industry is responding to increasing popularity and availability of technological innovations, such as web application on tablets and smartphones. Web applications have enormous potential to deliver simple, effective, inexpensive, on the go personalized solutions to oral healthcare needs as well. Currently there are no web applications for dry mouth assessment. The purpose of this study is to develop an innovative web application that measures the symptoms of dry mouth and raises knowledge and awareness in the community about identification and management. Use of this dry-mouth application will allow consumers to communicate their symptoms and questions to a variety of healthcare practitioners (dentists, hygienists, pharmacists, and physicians).
Member of standing and other committees in the Division of Dental Hygiene, and Dental School
Member of standing committees in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and University
Service to the Profession
Member of the American Dental Hygiene Association, Texas Dental Hygiene Association, and San Antonio Component. Member of the Texas Oral Health Coalition. Member of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene Association. Member and Secretary of the Beta Sigma Chapter of the Sigma Phi Alpha Honor Society.
- Development of a Mobile Application to Enhance Knowledge, Awareness and Communication of Dry Mouth Amongst Dental Practitioners
- Development of an E-Cigarettes Education and Cessation Program: A South Texas Oral Health Network Study.
- Xerostomia Diagnosis and Management Early detection and treatment are important to effectively manage this common oral condition
- Tooth Fairy Study- The South Texas Oral Health Collaboration.
- Extent of Elder Abuse Training in Dental Hygiene Curricula and Program Directors' Perceptions of Importance of and Barriers to I
- Professional Caregivers' Oral Care Practices and Beliefs for Elderly Clients Aging In Place
- Educational Deficiencies Recognized by Independent Practice Dental Hygienists and their Suggestions for Change
- Iatro-compliance: an unintended consequence of excessive autonomy in long term care facilities
- Cat of the month. STOP-Bang Questionnaire is useful for obstructive sleep apnea screening. UT CAT # 2344
- Response by Endodontists to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic: An International Survey,
- Extent of Elder Abuse Training in Dental Hygiene Curricula and Program Directors’ Perceptions of Importance of and Barriers to I
Taverna MV, Mungia R, Palmer RF, Castillo M, Heilbron L. South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN) and the Tooth Fairy Project; 2018 Apr. (Journal of Dental Hygiene Supplement 1; vol. 92, no. Sup 1).
Taverna MV, Nguyen C, Hicks B. Oral Hygiene and Self-Care in Older Adults with Dementia Generations 2016 Nov;40(3):43-48. Taverna MV, Uribe A, Nguyen C, Hernandez E, Jacks M. A Pilot Study: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Food Choices and Pediatric Advanced Dental Care (ADC) Texas Public Health Journal 2016 Sep;68(2):18-20. Delgado AM, Prihoda TJ, Nguyen CA, Hicks BM, Smiley LA, Taverna MV. Professional Caregivers` Oral Care Practices and Beliefs for Elderly Clients Aging in Place Journal of Dental Hygiene 2016 Aug;90(4):244-248. Showalter R, Nguyen CA, Curtis WJ, Jordan JD, Taverna MV. A Pilot Study Evaluating Dental Research Enrollment in Four Multi center Clinical Research Trials: Comparing Private Practice and University Settings The Clinical Researcher 2015 Oct;29:43-46. Courtney E. Vannah, MS, IPDH; Martha McComas, RDH, MS; Melanie Taverna, MS, RDH; Beatriz Hicks, MA, RDH; Rebecca Wright, MS, RDH. Educational Deficiencies Recognized by Independent Practice Dental Hygienists and their Suggestions for Change Journal of Dental Hygiene 2014 Dec;88:373-379. Shwartz E, Laughinghouse M, (Dental Students)
Taverna, M Assist. Professor. STOP-Bang Questionnaire Is The Most Sensitive Questionnaire For Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea UTHSCSA CATs Library #2344 Texas Dental Journal 2014 Jun;:420-420.
Mungia R, Taverna M, de La Rosa E, Heilbrun L, Mody P, Oates T, Tran H, Castillo M, Reyes, S, Suttle M, Palmer R. Tooth Fairy Study-The South Texas Oral Health Network Collaboration Texas Dental Journal 2019 Nov;. Toro J, Taverna MV. Bisphosphonates in Combination with Autologous Platelet Concentrates (APC) Lower the Incidence of Bisphosphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ) in Patients Undergoing Dental Extractions UTHSCSA online CATs Library 2019 Jun;3384. Celestino E, Gonzalez Z, Taverna MV. CEJ Automated Probing System Is More Reliable Than Manual or The Florida Probe when Detecting Clinical Attachment Loss for Patients with Chronic Periodontitis Journal of Evidence-Based Practice for the Dental Hygienist 2016 Mar;.
Celestino E, Gonzalez ZI, Taverna MV. Automated Probing System is More Reliable Than Manual or the Florida Probe When Detecting Clinical Attachment Loss for Patients with Chronic Periodontitis UTHSCSA online CATs Library #2910 2015 Dec;.
Taverna MV, Singh R. iPhone Applications Can Increase Oral Hygiene Compliance in Adolescents UTHealth San Antonio CATS library #UTCAT3258 2017 Aug;. Taverna MV, Shwarz E. Portable vs. In-Lab Diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Disorder For the Frail Elder Patient UTHSCSA CATs # 2345 2013 Mar;.
Oral Hygiene and Self-Care in Older Adults with Dementia
The devastating diagnosis of dementia has significant impacts on an older adult, especially on his or her general and oral health. Impacts upon family members also need to be considered. Caregivers, who are usually family members, lack caregiver training and can find it difficult to provide oral hygiene care and denture care. Older adults with dementia often suffer needlessly because they have difficulty communicating about oral pain or discomfort to caregivers, family, and health professionals. This article discusses the different types of dementia and how they impact oral care delivery; the caregiver role in administering dental hygiene and oral care; and lists resources for assistance with necessary oral care services.
A Pilot Study: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Food Choices and Pediatric Advanced Dental Care (ADC).
The original Food Stamp Program (FSP) was implemented during the Roosevelt Era to help increase farmers' income and provide hungry Americans with surplus foods. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 changed the program's name to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and defined allowable foods. SNAP food purchases include sweetened beverages and cariogenic (caries-causing) foods. Next to obesity, dental decay is the leading chronic illness in pediatric patients. Studies have established a relationship between SNAP foods and obesity in pediatric and adult patients. Frequent exposure to sugary, acidic, and/or carbohydrate drinks and snacks contribute to dental decay (caries). There is a gap in literature establishing a relationship between SNAP foods and dental caries. The purpose of this study was to examine a relationship between the pediatric patients that received advanced dental care (ADC) under general anesthesia, their food choices, and cariogenic frequency exposure. This study surveyed 60 parents of children who received ADC. The survey included demographics, the patients' nutritional patterns, and two questions related to SNAP benefits. It was conducted in a private room at two Texas pedodontic offices. Ninety-percent of patients that received ADC was insured by state public health programs, such as Medicaid. Sixty-seven percent of patients were between the ages of six months and five years, and 73% of participants received SNAP benefits. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
A Pilot Study Evaluating Dental Research Enrollment in Four Multicenter Clinical Research Trials
hen the managers of a periodontal clinical trial experienced a large gap between the projected number and the actual number of enrolled subjects within a planned time period, successful completion of the research was threatened.