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The AADR wants to help foster a strong, talented and inclusive dental research workforce to secure the dental future of many generations to come. (Photograph: mrmohock/Shutterstock)
0 Comments Sep 6, 2017 | News Americas

AADR reviews Advancing Dental Education: Gies in the 21st Century project

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., U.S.: In 1926, Dr. William Gies published his seminal report “Dental education in the United States and Canada,” which has had a profound impact on dental education over the last 90 years and provided a scientific basis for the profession. However, dental education is now challenged by a new set of issues concerning financing education, improved oral health, more effective treatment technologies and a rapidly changing delivery system. This has created the need for another study to set a new course for education of the oral health care workforce.

Consequently, the national three-phase project Advancing Dental Education: Gies in the 21st Century was launched to address complex modern issues of dental education and develop a plan for the future. Its aim is 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.

The response of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) to the completion of the first phase of the project, specifically the research section, has been published in the September issue of the Journal of Dental Research. In this article, members of the AADR staff and leadership, including AADR President Prof. Raul Garcia and immediate past President Prof. Jack Ferracane, provide several specific recommendations for meeting the challenges of dental training and research over the next 25 years and enumerate the AADR’s role in supporting the dental research community in this endeavor.

The AADR stresses the need for dental schools to participate in research and foster the integration of multidisciplinary 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 of dental researchers.

“Every dental school has a role to play,” said 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.”

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

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

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