July 2019 – Cameron L. Randall
Cameron L. Randall is a Senior Fellow at the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle. Randall is Secretary/Treasurer of the IADR Behavioral, Epidemiologic, and Health Services Research Group and a member of the AADR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Randall previously served on the AADR National Student Research Group Board. Randall’s program of research applies behavioral science, especially health psychology, to dentistry and dental public health.
1. How did you first learn about AADR and what motivated you to join?
My Ph.D. mentor encouraged me to present in my first year of graduate school, and I have fond memories of that first meeting! I was introduced to smart and experienced senior scientists who were excited about sharing and discussing research. I found that to be very energizing, which motivated me to continue my membership.
2. What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
I think the most valuable benefit is the relationships that are cultivated through participation in the organization. IADR/AADR provide connections with a global network of likeminded scholars. For me, I study a niche area — I am a clinical psychologist working in dental public health. Through the IADR Scientific Groups/Networks, members have the opportunity to find others who are doing similar work, even if it’s niche.
3. What do you want to see in the future for AADR?
I’ve thought about this one a bit. Most immediately, I’d like to see increased membership and participation by early-career researchers — this is the pipeline that builds the future of the organization and our field. I also hope to see AADR continue to advance diversity and inclusion and become a model organization with respect to these efforts.
4. What is the best way for other members to become more involved in AADR?
The best way to get more involved in AADR is to reach out to your IADR Scientific Group/Network, both the leadership within and other IADR/AADR members in the Group/Network. Reach out early and ask about ways to become involved. Help with small initiatives or programming so you can get your feet wet. Then, increase your involvement to include roles such as abstract reviewer or an officer position follows quite naturally.
I have become very active within the Behavioral, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research Group (BEHSR), and every year at meetings I look forward to reconnecting and visiting face to face with my BEHSR colleagues and friends to talk shop. From simply engaging with others at the General Sessions, I’ve started new collaborations, some international and some multidisciplinary, which has been incredibly rewarding.
5. How did you get involved with the AADR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion? Why is being a member of this committee important to you?
In graduate school and during my residency, I had been doing diversity and inclusion work within clinical psychology. At the same time, I was the Secretary of the AADR National Student Research Group (NSRG) and heard about the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion’s work during one of our board meetings. I became interested in bringing what I had learned in the psychology sphere to the dental research sphere. I reached out to IADR/AADR Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Fox, and asked to get connected with the committee.
Being on this committee is important to me because diversity and inclusion should be actively embraced and promoted in all settings, and because the research we do is greatly benefited by diversity of thought. That comes from a culture of inclusion, where people feel welcomed and that they can present their authentic selves. Through equity and inclusion, we see people operating at their best and bringing good things to the table – and that is what advances our science.
6. What was your role within the AADR National Student Research Group (NSRG)? Why is it important for students to join the NSRG?
I served as Secretary of the NSRG. As a psychology graduate student doing research in dentistry, it was fun to be a member of a Board that was otherwise made up of dental and dual-degree students. During my time on the Board, we created a webinar and online discussion that connected dental student leaders from two dozen schools around the country. This provided a way for NSRG Local Research Group leaders to learn what their counterparts at other institutions were doing on a more regular basis. As opposed to once a year at meetings, connecting can now happen three times a year.
For students and trainees, I have found that going to the General Session with your mentor or lab helps facilitate introductions to the other people in your Group/Network(s). Going to an IADR Scientific Group/Network business meeting and getting involved with the NSRG will allow you to connect with researchers in your own and other areas, which provides opportunities for collaboration as well as a better appreciation of the broader work being done in our field.
Through involvement with the NSRG, I connected with many colleagues who have become friends as we’ve moved through the early stages of our careers. We stay in touch to share updates, advice and support, and I have found that to be valuable during my transition to independence.