Dr. Linda Kaste is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics Dentistry at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Her career evolution as a dentist and epidemiologist has lead her to focus on the inclusion of oral health and dentistry in research and best clinical practices of general/systemic health and healthcare.
Dr. Kaste’s involvement in viewing the changing epidemiology of oral health and neck cancers has been particularly fascinating. This work stems from the Cancer Center Oral Cancer thematic group and continues with Dr. Charles LeHew. Public health and research-wise, Dr. Kaste sees the balance of the population burden of oral cancers associated with traditional risk factors confronted by new directions in study of HPV-associated oral health and neck cancers. Yet, in the classroom, she sees that the students’ clinical perceptions of oral cancer in the United States being solely a male disease associated with tobacco and alcohol exposures.
Her work with Dr. Therese Dolecek has captured that the increases in incidence in women (specifically Non-Hispanic White Women) of oral cancer countered by the declines in incidence in cervical cancer has placed the rates of oral cancer above that of cervical cancer for decades.
Consequently, a number of factors have lead her to her current work on Science Policy, in addition to her participation with Population Sciences of the UI Cancer Center and the oral health special interest group of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.