Using GIS to Analyze Inequality in Access to Dental Care in the District of Columbia

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Background: Access to dental care in mixed-race and predominantly African American wards in the District of Columbia (DC) was investigated in relation to community development. Methods: This study used high-resolution geographic information system (GIS) tools to map all general dentistry and periodontal practice locations in DC wards. The spatial analysis contextualized each ward’s land use and demographic data obtained from DC government reports. Findings: The analysis revealed inter-ward inequity in dental care access, which was measured by proximity to and number of dental clinics in each DC ward. Residents in affluent wards had access to many dental practices and superior amenities. Residents in wards poorly served by public transportation and with few resources had few, if any, dental clinics. Conclusions: Dental practices are inequitably distributed across DC wards. DC policy should prioritize community development—specifically, resource allocation and community outreach—to promote health equity and improve access to and quality of dental care among residents of color.




Davis, J., Liu, M., Kao, D., Gu, X., & Cherry-Peppers, G. (2022, January 1). Using GIS to Analyze Inequality in Access to Dental Care in the District of Columbia. AMA Journal of Ethics. American Medical Association.

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