Research Profile

Darragh Beecher

Biography

I'm a Researcher based at the Oral Health Services Research Centre, University Dental School & Hospital, UCC for nearly 15 years. During that time, I've worked on a number of studies looking at the impact of oral health on children, adults and older people. I have a particular interest in the association between oral health and quality of life. You can find more information about my publications via ORCiD 0000-0001-5644-3212

I'm currently working as part of the FACCT Study team. The aim of this 6-year HRB-funded research programme is to evaluate the impact and outcome of the change in policy on water fluoridation and on the use of fluoride toothpaste on dental caries and enamel fluorosis in Irish children. A secondary aim is to explore the viability of using electronic health record systems used by the HSE dental service to monitor trends in oral health.

Since 2004, I've been studying part-time towards a PhD entitled Application of Psychological Measurement Theory to the Exploration of the Impact of Water Fluoridation on Oral Health. The thesis uses data from FACCT, and a previous HRB-funded programme entitled Risks and Benefits of Fluoride on the Island of Ireland, to illustrate ways in which psychometric theory can be used to improve the collection and analysis of oral health survey data.

I teach and tutor in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences. I have taught a module on Communication, Learning and Behaviour across the Lifespan for BSc SLT
year 1 students for a number of years; previously I was also a PBL tutor for this group. I teach part of modules on Psychosocial Dimenstions of Deafness and Lifespan Development as part of the MSc Audiology, and last year I also delivered a module on Information Literacy and Research Strategies to the first year students of this programme.

Research Interests

The overall aim of all of my work is to improve the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of studies concerning the relationship between water fluoridation and oral health. I am currently completing a PhD in this area.

The first strand of the research concerns the quantitative assessment of exposure to water fluoridation. Traditionally, research participants have been classified on a best-guess basis using their current home address; historical addresses or water distribution networks have not been considered. This classification is then used to assess the difference in oral health between residents with and without domestic water fluoridation. My thesis compares alternative quantitative approaches to the traditional binary categorisation to demonstrate the greater explanatory power of a categorical or continuous classification variable.

The second strand of the research concerns the use of oral health-related quality of life questionnaires as an outcome in studies of water fluoridation and oral health; a positive linear relationship between oral health and oral health-related quality of life is often assumed within dentistry. My work questions this relationship by looking at other psychological variables which may mediate or moderate the relationship. Both regression analyses and structural equation modelling will be used as SEM is very little known in the dental literature; the thesis will defend the use of the method as well as its results. I will also consider the use of proxy versus child-completed quality of life measures as many of the water fluoridation studies focus on children.

The final strand of the research concerns scientific communication and the public’s understanding of water fluoridation. Though qualitative work to this end has been done by our own centre and elsewhere, analysis and reporting tends to be at a superficial level, quantifying themes rather than exploring the richness and complexity of the data to generate a more nuanced understanding of public support for and concerns regarding the addition of fluoride to water as a public health measure. I will use grounded theory to illustrate the merits of a more in-depth engagement with such qualitative data. This will be contrasted with the content analysis approach used by the study from which the data is drawn.

Publications

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2018)'Fluoride And Caring for Children's Teeth (FACCT): Clinical Fieldwork Protocol'
James P, Harding M, Beecher D, Parnell C, Browne D, Tuohy M, Kavanagh D, O'Mullane D, Guiney H, Cronin M, Whelton H (2018) 'Fluoride And Caring for Children's Teeth (FACCT): Clinical Fieldwork Protocol'. Hrb Open Research, [Details]

Published Reports

 YearPublication
(2009)Evidence-Based Options for an Oral Health Policy for Older People.
Whelton, H., Kelleher, V., Crowley, D., Woods, N., Stephenson, I. & Ormsby, M. (2009) Evidence-Based Options for an Oral Health Policy for Older People. National Council for Ageing and Older People, Dublin.   [Details]

Conference Publications

 YearPublication
(2016)IADR Irish Division Annual Scientific Meeting
Beecher, D., Harding, M., James, P., Whelton, H. (2016) Self-Perception of Enamel Opacities among Irish 12-Year-Olds IADR Irish Division Annual Scientific Meeting Cork, Ireland, , 03-MAR-16 - 04-MAR-16 [Details]
(2013)Irish Division Meeting, Cork, Ireland
Whelton H, Beecher D, Harding M, James P, Parnell C (2013) FACCT (Fluoride And Caring for Children's Teeth) Irish Division Meeting, Cork, Ireland Cork, Ireland, [Details]
(2009)39th Annual Psychological Society of Ireland Conference
Beecher, D., Whelton, H., Di Blasi, Z., O'Mullane, D., Browne, D. & Flannery E. (2009) What do Health-Related Quality of Life Measures Really Measure? 39th Annual Psychological Society of Ireland Conference Wexford, Ireland, [Details]
(2007)IADR Irish Division Annual Scientific Meeting
Whelton, H., Crowley, E., O'Mullane, D., Woods, N., McGrath, C., Kelleher, V., Guiney, H., Byrtek, M. & Crowley, D. (2007) Older People's Oral Health-Related Quality of Life IADR Irish Division Annual Scientific Meeting Cork, Ireland, [Details]
(2006)36th Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference
Crowley, D., Browne, D., Whelton, H., Allen, F., Flannery, E. & O'Mullane, D. (2006) The Impact of Tooth Enamel Defects (Fluorosis) on Irish Children's Quality of Life: A New Measure 36th Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference Galway, Ireland, [Details]
(2006)2nd Interdisciplinary Faculty of Medicine & Health Research Conference
Crowley, D., Stephenson, I., Kelleher, V., Foley, A., Whelton, H., McEvoy, H., Ormsby, M. & O'Donovan, O. (2006) Exploring Older Adults' Perspectives on Oral Health Care 2nd Interdisciplinary Faculty of Medicine & Health Research Conference University College, Cork, Ireland, [Details]
(2006)36th Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference
Crowley, D, Browne, D., Whelton, H., Flannery, E., Di Blasi, Z., Porteous, P. & O'Mullane, D. (2006) Investigation of the Relationship Between Oral Health and Health-Related Quality of Life 36th Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference Galway, Ireland, [Details]
(2005)1st Interdisciplinary Faculty of Medicine & Health Research Conference
Crowley, D., Browne, D, Whelton, H., Allen, F., Flannery, E. & O'Mullane, D. (2005) The Development of a Questionnaire to Measure the Impact of Enamel Fluorosis on the Quality of Life of Irish Children 1st Interdisciplinary Faculty of Medicine & Health Research Conference University College, Cork, Ireland, [Details]

Articles

 YearPublication
(2009)An ageing population - have we got an Oral Health Policy? (Not peer reviewed).
Woods, N., Whelton, H., Crowley, D., Stephenson, I., Ormsby, M. (2009) An ageing population - have we got an Oral Health Policy? (Not peer reviewed). Ireland: Articles [Details]

Professional Activities

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
Psychological Society of Ireland Graduate Member (MPsSI)/
British Psychological Society Graduate Member (MBPsS)/

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2017)IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, San Francisco, California,
Whelton H, Harding M, James P, Beecher D, Guiney H (2017) Effectiveness of water fluoridaiton at 0.7ppm. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, San Francisco, California, San Francisco, California . [Details]
(2017)22nd Congress of the European Association of Dental Public Health (EADPH),
Harding M, James P, Beecher D, Guiney H, (2017) Accurate Measurement of Enamel Fluorosis in the FACCT Study, Republic of Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 22nd Congress of the European Association of Dental Public Health (EADPH), Vilnius, Lithuania . [Details]
(2016)21st CONGRESS OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION,
Harding M, James P., Beecher D., Guiney H. Whelton H (2016) Fewer teeth with dentinal caries (D3vcMFT) in 12-year-old children with community water fluoridation in the Republic of Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 21st CONGRESS OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION, Budapest, Hungary . [Details]
(2016)IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, Seoul, Korea,
Whelton H, Harding M, Beecher D, James P, Guiney H (2016) Association between 0.7ppm water fluoridation and caries in primary teeth. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, Seoul, Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea . [Details]
(2015)IADR/AADR/CADR General Session,
Whelton H, Beecher D, Harding M, James P, Parnell C, Tuohy M, O'Mullane D, Guiney H, Cronin M (2015) Use of fluoridated consumer products in a fluoridated country. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, Boston, Massachusetts . [Details]
(2014)Annual Health Promotion Summer Conference,
Parnell, C., Whelton, H., Beecher, D., & Curtin, S. (2014) Oral Health Promotion. [Poster Presentation], Annual Health Promotion Summer Conference, Galway NUI . [Details]
(2014)Pan European Region Meeting, Dubrovnik, Croatia,
James P, Beecher D, Harding M, Whelton H (2014) Translating Research documents for legislative compliance and promotion of participation. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Pan European Region Meeting, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Dubrovnik, Croatia . [Details]
(2014)Pan European Region Meeting, Dubrovnik, Croatia,
Beecher D, Harding M, James P, Whelton H (2014) Exposure of Irish School Children to Domestic Water Fluoridation. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Pan European Region Meeting, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Dubrovnik, Croatia . [Details]
(2012)Spring Meeting of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD),
Parnell, C., Beecher, D., Whelton, H., Curtin, S. (2012) Tackling oral health inequalities in preschool children in disadvantaged areas in Ireland: an integrated approach. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Spring Meeting of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD), London, UK . [Details]
(2010)88th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR),
O'Mullane D, Whelton H, Browne, D., Clayton, A., Curtin, C., Ingrem, C., Flannery E. (2010) Intra-Oral Caries Distribution amongst adults on the Island of Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 88th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), Barcelona, Spain . [Details]
(2007)International Association for Dental Research (IADR),
Browne, D., Whelton, H., O'Mullane, D., Crowley, D., Flannery, E. (2007) The Aesthetic IMpact of Enamel Fluorosis on Irish Adolescents. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Association for Dental Research (IADR), Cork, Ireland . [Details]
(2006)International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Pan European Regional (PER),
Browne, D., Whelton, H., Crowley, E., O'Mullane, D., Cronin, M., Kelleher, V., Flannery, E., Crowley, D. (2006) The Aesthetic Impact of Enamel Fluorosis on Irish 15-Year-Olds. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Pan European Regional (PER), Dublin, Ireland . [Details]
(2006)Association for Dental Research (IADR) Conference,
Browne, D., Whelton, H., O'Mullane, D., Crowley, D., Allen, F., Flannery, E. (2006) Impact of Fluorosis on Quality of Life of Irish Adolescents. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Association for Dental Research (IADR) Conference, Brisbane, Australia . [Details]
(2014)IADR/PER Congress,
P James, D Beecher, M Harding, H Whelton (2014) Translating research documents for legislative compliance and participation. [Poster Presentation], IADR/PER Congress, Dubrovnik, Croatia , 10-SEP-14 - 13-SEP-14. [Details]

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
ISS Disability and Mental Health Cluster Member/
ENGAGE (Interdisciplinary Clinical Mental Health) Network Member/

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Support Officer01-JUN-19 / 31-MAR-21
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant17-DEC-18 / 31-MAY-19
Centre for Health Geoinformatics, Maynooth University. Research Assistant01-JUL-18 / 30-APR-20
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant01-DEC-17 / 30-NOV-18
Mental Health Commission Lay Member for Mental Health Tribunals01-NOV-17 / 31-OCT-22
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant03-OCT-16 / 31-MAR-17
Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences, University College Cork Assistant Lecturer24-SEP-15 / 31-MAY-20
Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences, University College Cork Problem-Based Learning Tutor31-AUG-15 / 31-MAY-16
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant01-JUL-13 / 16-DEC-18
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Moderator OHSRC Website01-JAN-13 / 31-JAN-13
Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences, University College Cork Problem-Based Learning Tutor02-SEP-12 / 31-DEC-12
Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences, University College Cork Assistant Lecturer02-SEP-12 / 31-MAY-20
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Grant Proposal Writer01-JUL-12 / 31-DEC-12
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant01-MAR-11 / 31-MAY-11
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant01-JAN-11 / 30-JUN-11
Cork College of Commerce Lecturer05-NOV-07 / 19-DEC-08
Mental Health Commission Lay Member for Mental Health Tribunals01-NOV-06 / 31-OCT-10
Griffith College Cork Lecturer02-OCT-06 / 28-MAY-10
High Fliers Research Limited, U.K. Research Manager01-OCT-06 / 31-MAR-07
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant01-JUL-06 / 31-OCT-07
Psychometrica International Ltd. Psychometric Test Administrator01-MAR-05 / 22-JUL-11
Oral Health Services Research Centre, UCC Research Assistant01-NOV-04 / 31-AUG-08
COPE Foundation Care Assistant15-MAR-04 / 17-SEP-04
Montenotte Care Centre Care Assistant08-JUN-03 / 12-MAR-04

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
2003UCC BA - PSYCHOLOGY - UCCApplied Psychology, Sociology

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

I am an assistant lecturer and former problem-based learning tutor for the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences.

I teach and assess first year BSc Speech & Language Therapy students' module SL1004 Communication, Learning and Behaviour across the Lifespan. Previously, I also facilitate problem-based learning for smaller groups of these students in modules SL1009 Introduction to Communication Disorders I and SL1010 Introduction to Communication Disorders II.

I contribute to two modules for the first year MSc Audiology students, AU6018 Psychosocial dimensions of deafness and AU6019 Human Development, Cognition and Communication through the lifespan. Previously I also delivered AU6014 Information Literacy and Research Strategies.



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Oral Health Services Research Centre

University Dental School & Hospital, Wilton, Cork T12 E8YV, Ireland.

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