Dr. Shawnda Schroeder is a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Rural Health, located within the University of North Dakota's School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She began her career with the Center in 2011 as a Coordinator for the Critical Access Hospital Quality Network. In this role, she collaborated with all 36 critical access (rural) hospitals in North Dakota. This work was funded as part of the North Dakota State Office of Rural Health, a federal-state partnership that helps rural communities build their healthcare services through collaborations and initiatives. After accepting a research faculty position still with the Center, she began to conduct research on dental care access and utilization working with state partners, oral health stakeholders, the Department of Human Services (Medicaid office), and all dental professional associations in North Dakota. This research included review of national datasets, work with the respective dental provider associations to review licensure data, analyses of basic screening surveys conducted by the North Dakota Department of Health (ND DoH) Oral Health Program, review of State Medicaid data, and the development and dissemination of surveys to assess primary care providers’ knowledge of varnish application as well as dentists’ perceptions of proposed legislation around dental workforce interventions.
Under a collaborative contract with the DoH Oral Health Program, funded by the DentaQuest Foundation, she continued to work with oral health partners in the State to develop, implement, and assess a dental screening tool for nursing home residents. This is an example of action-oriented, community-engaged research with the prospect of producing an evidence-based tool for national dissemination and implementation. Her work in oral health equity for North Dakotans has resulted in an several grants and contracts as well as invitations to serve on the State Teledentistry Committee, the Older Adult Oral Health Workgroup, the state Oral Health Coalition Steering Committee, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Oral Health Workgroup, and the National Rural Health Association's Oral Health Interest Group.
Dr. Schroeder continues to collaborate with many colleagues at the Center for Rural Health providing expertise on qualitative research, survey development, community-based participatory research, focus group research, and journal writing. She has developed surveys on rural behavioral healthcare workforce interventions, rural telehealth services, and rural hospital quality of care, among others. She also serve as the Program Director for the Rural Health Research Gateway, a national, federally-funded program designed to disseminate the work of the federally-funded Rural Health Research Centers. In that role, she identifies communication strategies to engage diverse audiences, assisting in the development and dissemination of policy briefs, factsheets, and other resources for policy makers, researchers, providers, and other audiences. Her work has focused on community and policy change requiring the development of promising practice guides, policy briefs, fact sheets, and legislative testimony. She is also a member of the Rural Health and Communities Grand Challenge team.