By Nicole Fauteux
As dental education has evolved
over the past 75 years, the Journal of
Dental Education (JDE) has been right alongside, chronicling its advances.
The Journal celebrated this milestone
in January with a 75th Anniversary Issue, which came to life, so to
speak, at the ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition. Several of the issue’s
authors shared the gist of their articles during a two-hour symposium that shed
light on the Journal’s past and its
role in supporting the future progress of dental education.
The Journal’s current Editor Dr. L. Jackson Brown opened the
proceedings by noting that the Journal
has not only chronicled advances within dental education. It has also acted as
a provocateur, stimulating discussion and airing divisive issues. ADEA
Executive Director Dr. Richard W. Valachovic noted the uncanny similarity
between the topics covered in the first issue of the JDE and the topics that concern our community today. He lauded the
foresight of the Journal’s founders
and the current leadership’s unwavering commitment to using the JDE as a vehicle for progress within
Two ADEA members with
outstanding research credentials filled out the first half of the program. Dr.
Dominick P. DePaola, Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Nova
Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, analyzed the evolution of
dental education between 1936 and 2011 and commented on the role that the JDE played along the way. He echoed Dr.
Valachovic’s observation that the conversation remains largely the same in
spite of the many changes that have occurred within dental education, and he
lamented the “glacial” pace of change. Nevertheless, he spoke optimistically
about the opportunities for progress that lie ahead.
Dr. Harold C. Slavkin,
Professor and Dean Emeritus of the University of Southern California Herman
Ostrow School of Dentistry, who followed on the program, noted that the pace of
change has accelerated in recent years. He cited the convergence of two
revolutions, one in the biomedical sciences and the other in digital
technology, and their profound influences on the health sciences. He emphasized
that this explosion in knowledge is critical to the improvement of the human
condition and will have a significant impact on dental education.
The second hour of the
symposium addressed the implications of these changes for the JDE. Dr. Judith Albino, Clinical
Professor and Interim Dean of the
Colorado School of Public Health, praised the journal, noting that she
and her co-authors found a voice in the JDE
when other journals were not ready to address the issue of oral health
disparities. Her co-author and JDE Associate
Editor, Dr. Marita R. Englehart, asserted that dental education has the power
to affect professional attitudes and behavior related to providing care for the
underserved. She noted that the JDE helps
to document how we are doing in that pursuit and contributes to our
understanding of oral health disparities.
Dr. Howard L. Bailit, Professor
Emeritus, University of Connecticut, and Dr. Alan J. Formicola, Dean
Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at Columbia
University College of Dental Medicine, addressed the ways in which
community-based clinical opportunities are fundamentally transforming dental
education. Dr. Bailit described the unique characteristics of clinical dental
education. He noted that the safety net system is likely to expand under the
Affordable Care Act, increasing opportunities for community-based learning. He
sees great promise in this distributed model of clinical education.
Dr. Formicola picked up where
his co-author left off, noting that community-based education is the
fastest-growing part of the dental education curriculum. He placed his
discussion in the context of the Point/Counterpoint session on social
entrepreneurship and interprofessional education held earlier during the Annual
Session. He noted a dramatic transformation in the decades since he first went
to dental school: from piecemeal to comprehensive care, from repairing disease
to prevention, and from treating one patient at a time to working to influence
the health of the entire population.
Finally, Dr. Bill Hendricks,
Associate Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San
Antonio Dental School took the floor. "The nine years I worked on the Journal were pivotal in my life,"
he told the audience, and he credited former Editor Dr. Olav Alveres and Managing
Editor Lynn Whitaker, who were present for the event, with teaching him about
publishing and academic journalism. His talk focused on the new face of dental
education and the ways in which schools are adapting to accommodate a more
diverse student population.
Dr. Brown concluded the session by saying, "You heard
from some of our best and brightest." If you were not fortunate enough to
hear them in person, you can still read their articles in the 75th anniversary
issue of the JDE.