Inside Dentistry
December 2011
Volume 7, Issue 11

Decline in US Dental Faculty Addressed

JANUARY— A new report by an Indiana University School of Dentistry department chair with researchers from six other U.S. dental schools is calling for quick and creative solutions to address the growing scarcity of full-time faculty members within the nation’s dental school programs. The report cites widening pay gaps between private practice dentists and clinical professors at dental schools as one factor in fewer dentists committing to careers in teaching. Clinical faculty also report being overwhelmed and burned out by the workload demands of teaching, clinical, research and administrative responsibilities. Published in the January edition of the Journal of Dental Education, the paper calls for the development of mandatory mentoring programs, among other recommendations, to help reverse the trend.

“We feel it is essential that mentoring programs be considered mandatory within dental schools if this trend toward a major crisis in dentistry is to be reversed as rapidly as possible,” said Dr. Vanchit John, chairman of the IU School of Dentistry’s Department of Periodontics and Allied Dental Programs and the lead author of the report. “Clinical faculty shortages could be characterized as the most critical challenge confronting dentistry.”

Citing an average of almost seven faculty vacancies per dental school and an average pay gap between general practice dentists and clinical faculty of $86,000 a year, the report, titled “Recruitment, Development and Retention of Dental Faculty in a Changing Environment,” offers a comprehensive outline for restoring teaching numbers.

Source: Indiana University

ADA, Forsyth Institute Offer Popular EBD Training Course

JULY—After enthusiastic feedback from its classes of students in 2009 and 2010, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) and The Forsyth Institute’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, held an ADA/Forsyth EBD Training course September 19–23 at the home of The Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The intensive, 5-day training course in evidence-based principles and tools was a collaboration between the ADA and The Forsyth Institute Centers for EBD. The course linked the strong initiatives of the ADA Center for EBD with The Forsyth Institute’s solid history of EBD and scientific research.

Participants learned the skills to understand, appraise, and implement new dental treatment and diagnostic options into their practice, curriculum or research. Taking an interactive, problem and solution-based approach, EBD coursework focused on human clinical trials, addressing quantitative and qualitative outcomes, risk calculation, diagnosis, and systematic reviews. Through speaker presentations, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and team-based workshops, the 110 champions representing 36 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada were challenged to formulate clinical questions; search for evidence; practice critical reading and appraisal; implement EBD into practice; and navigate the ADA EBD website and Critical Summaries of Systematic Reviews.

Source: American Dental Association

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