With great pleasure, we present the PhD Student of the Month for October 2021, Maisa Omara. After having studied Dental Medicine, she is enrolled in the N790 programme „Public Health“ and works at the Institute of Outcomes Research, Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics and Intelligent Systems (CeMSIIS).

Maisa’s work is pioneering the application of modern psychometric approaches in dental and oral medicine, including integrating oral health into general health focusing on the most common joint disease and a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide „osteoarthritis“. Her thesis project included setting up the most comprehensive multi-center osteoarthritis registry in Austria „BLOAR- Better Life with Osteoarthritis registry“, in order to investigate oral health outcomes of osteoarthritis patients. At the beginning of this multistep project, oral health instruments were validated as reliable tools for measuring oral health outcomes which enabled proper assessment of oral health involvement in osteoarthritis and possibly other disease areas in the future. Maisa’s work provides novel evidence as well as practical clinical guidance on how to improve outcome measures. Improving instruments to measure outcomes including patient-reported ones using modern psychometric approaches, contributes substantially to the methodological quality and accuracy of individual and community health status measurements.

Maisa’s research efforts have already led to various publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including publications as first author in the „Journal of American Dental Association“ as well as in the top-ranked journals „Journal of Dentistry“ and „Journal of Oral Rehabilitation“. She has been recently awarded the 2021 Women in Science Promising Talent Award in the postgraduate category from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). Maisa has also reviewed numerous articles in scientific journals, thereby contributing to the scientific excellence and quality of research.