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Kimon Divaris - December 2017

Kimon Divaris, D.D.S., Ph.D. received his D.D.S. from the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Dentistry in 2005 and Certificates in Pediatric Dentistry and Global Health from University of North Carolina in 2011. Also in 2011, Divaris received his Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Departments of Pediatric Dentistry and Epidemiology. His research interests revolve around the notion of precision medicine/dentistry and include early childhood oral health, dental caries, genomics, the human microbiome, dental public health, periodontal diseases and fluorides. 

How did you first learn about AADR and what motivated you to join?
I first heard about the IADR while a dental student, at the Athens University School of Dentistry in Greece. I quickly learned that IADR and its continental and regional divisions are the hubs for disseminating the 'latest' in dental research. I joined the association in 2004 and attended my first IADR meetings in 2005, in Baltimore (IADR/AADR) and Amsterdam (IADR-CED). 

What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
Undoubtedly, the platform that it offers for collaboration and networking. Science is inherently collaborative and its advancement is based upon peer-review and dissemination — AADR is ideally positioned to facilitate these processes and the meetings always offer great opportunities to reconnect with lots of collaborators and friends!

What do you want to see in the future for AADR?
Growth, increased membership value and community impact. Some level of grassroots activity at dental academic institutions, student and regional chapters will be needed to increase the membership base. Continue to increase membership value by enhancing the quality of information disseminated via electronic media (e.g., the Global Research Update) and publications (e.g., the JDR) and presented at the annual meetings, including the fall focused symposium. In the future, I would like to see AADR establish a community advisory board — a standing forum wherein community members, not necessarily dental patients, can contribute their own insights and perspectives on oral and craniofacial health research. 

What is the best way for other members to become more involved in AADR?
Get involved in a scientific group or network (SG/N) and serve as an abstract reviewer or officer — scientific groups and networks are the association's main activity cores, where most things happen; attending a SG/N business meeting is a great first step. Another great way to become more involved is to contribute to the scientific program by creating and submitting Symposium, Lunch and Learn sessions and Hands-on Workshop proposals.

How important do you think cross-collaboration with other scientific disciplines is to the future of dental, oral and craniofacial research?
It is imperative. Major scientific advances in our field are typically products of collaboration with other disciplines. Cross-collaboration is important and is increasingly necessary from multiple standpoints and in different 'spaces': systems biology, translational research, oral-systemic connections, behavioral sciences, public health, implementation science, the new evolving landscape in health care and more. Importantly, cross-collaboration and synergies with other disciplines can amplify our advocacy voice and efforts. 
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