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AADR Perspective on Phase 1 of “Advancing Dental Education: Gies in The 21st Century”

Alexandria, Va., USA – In 1926, William Gies published the seminal report “Dental Education in the United States and Canada,” which has had a profound impact on dental education over the last 90 years providing a scientific basis for the profession. However, dental education is now challenged by a new set of issues. A national project, “Advancing Dental Education: Gies in the 21st Century” was created to address these complex modern issues and develop a broad strategic plan for the future of dental education. The project aims to critically assess the current state of oral health education and practice, identify trends that will shape future dental education, develop strategies for restructuring dental education to address long-range challenges and prepare a long-term strategic plan to implement the changes needed. This project is divided into three phases. 

AADR’s response to the completion of Phase One of the project, specifically the research section is published in the September issue of the Journal of Dental Research. In this perspective, members of AADR staff and leadership, including AADR President Raul Garcia and Immediate Past President Jack Ferracane, provide several specific recommendations for meeting the challenges of dental training and research over the next 25 years and enumerate AADR’s role in supporting the dental research community in this endeavor. 

AADR stresses the need for dental schools to participate in research and foster the integration of multi-disciplinary research teams. Cross-collaboration between dental schools and other departments on campus, or with a neighboring academic health center, medical school or other health science institute is strongly encouraged, underlining the need for dental researchers to see themselves as part of the larger research community and for the larger research community to recognize the contributions to dental researchers.

Dental schools must not only engage dental students in research but bring more Ph.D. students into the dental, oral and craniofacial research enterprise while leading efforts to improve quality of training for dual degree (i.e., D.D.S./D.M.D. + Ph.D.) students. 

Dental schools should maintain flexible dental curricula to allow students to take advantage of research opportunities at both home and outside institutions. Finally, as the scarcity of financial resources continues to challenge the dental research community as well as the broader biomedical research enterprise, AADR urges schools to not only aggressively compete for funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research but to expand their portfolios to the other institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health, as well as other federal agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, etc.) and private foundations and industry.

“Every dental school has a role to play,” said AADR President Raul Garcia, “dental schools are the primary source for producing clinician scientists in dental, oral and craniofacial research. William Gies emphasized that dentistry is both a learned profession as well as a specialized area of medicine, and his insights remain relevant today. We are excited to see how this project builds on Gies’ vision and validates the foundational role that research and scholarship play in the profession.” 

AADR aims to help achieve these goals by advocating for the inclusion of oral health in large research initiatives, facilitating the involvement of our members in these projects, and raising the profile of dental research in the larger research community. AADR will continue to provide networking and mentorship opportunities for trainees and early career scientists through meetings and programming. 

AADR will also continue to advocate for adequate, sustainable and predictable federal funding for dental research and training. To help further meet the financial challenges of training and research, AADR award and fellowship programs offer students unique opportunities to pursue their research interests. To help foster a strong, talented and inclusive dental research workforce, the new AADR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion will continue to develop strategies to increase diversity in the dental, oral and craniofacial research community. Lastly, AADR calls for the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) research standard to be strengthened and given greater attention during site visits. AADR will continue to work with the American Dental Association and the American Dental Education Association to strengthen CODA Standard 6 on research. 

The executive summaries and background supporting articles for the project are published in the August and September issues of the Journal of Dental Education.  

View the article Research and Dental Education: An AADR Perspective on the "Advancing Dental Education: Gies in the 21st Century” Project online or contact Elise Bender ebender@iadr.org  to access to the article.

 

About the Journal of Dental Research
The IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the dissemination of new knowledge in all sciences relevant to dentistry and the oral cavity and associated structures in health and disease. At 0.02225, the JDR holds the highest Eigenfactor® Score of all dental journals publishing original research. The JDR ranks #1 in Article Influence and #2 in the Two-Year Journal Impact Factor rankings with a rating of 4.755 according to the 2016 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomas Reuters, 2017).

About the International Association for Dental Research
The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 10,000 individual members worldwide, dedicated to: (1) advancing research and increasing knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide, (2) supporting and representing the oral health research community, and (3) facilitating the communication and application of research findings. To learn more, visit www.iadr.org. The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is the largest Division of IADR, with more than 3,500 members in the United States. To learn more, visit www.iadr.org/AADR.


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