Bulletin of Dental Education

Dr. Leo Rouse Looks to Engage the Future of Dental Education

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ADEA President Leo E. Rouse, D.D.S., Dean of the Howard University College of Dentistry Leo E. Rouse, D.D.S., Dean of the Howard University College of Dentistry, was installed as the first African-American to become President of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) on March 16, 2011, at the 2011 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in San Diego, California.

Dr. Rouse is a veteran of the U.S. Army, concluding his 24-year career as the Commander and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Army Dental Command where he led the global operation of the Army Dental Corps. After starting a second career in academic dentistry, he was appointed Dean of Howard University College of Dentistry in 2004. He has also served previously as Chair of the ADEA Council of Deans and as one of the four ADEA Commissioners on the Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA).

“My greatest success so far in my career is the opportunity to serve the faculty, students, staff, and alumni of the Howard University College of Dentistry as their Dean,” Dr. Rouse told the BDE. He believes he is ready to tackle the coming year at ADEA’s helm based on his life experiences, and he looks forward to the challenge. “My parents instilled in me the important values of unselfishness, caring, creativity, and humility. My experience as a leader in the U.S. Army dental care system provided me with experience and training as a manager, academician, and leader, with a focus on the professional development of young men and women. My experience at Howard University as a clinical dean and Dean gave me the focus on strategic thinking, planning, and academic processes.”

Dr. Rouse is eager to lead ADEA and its members forward as the Association begins full implementation of the ADEA Strategic Directions for 2011-14. “If we can continue to improve and sustain communication with all of our stakeholders and maintain our collaborative partnerships with sister organizations, I will have a successful term as ADEA President.”

The 2012 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition will take place in Orlando, Florida, with the theme “Engage: Better Individual, Better Profession, Better Community, Better Health, Better Future.” “Engage” represents all types of health professions and health care providers coming together in a community to actively participate in an experience that empowers them to change the future.

Dr. Rouse is excited to continue building upon this past year’s theme of IPE and sees next year’s programming as critical to the development and growth of dental education. “As we build collaborative relationships with other health professionals to promote and encourage constituent efforts, we will advance substantive interprofessional learning experiences to help prepare future clinicians for team base care of patients,” says Dr. Rouse. “It builds upon the interprofessional learning and the collaborative competencies that are needed for each health profession to work together. Working together for all health care providers is the foundation of IPE, as espoused by our Interprofessional Education theme from this past Annual Session.”

But Dr. Rouse is not limiting himself to building onto IPE. “Other initiatives and topics I want to address include strategies to reduce student debt, proactive strategies for faculty recruitment and retention, improvement in health literacy for all communities, implementation of Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in our dental curricula, collaborative research opportunities for dental institutions, and exploring new technologies for teaching and learning as we work hard to improve our faculty shortages.”

So is the Association ready to tackle these challenges? “I believe ADEA is positioned to stay engaged with outstanding programs such as the American Association for Dental Research and the ADEAGies Foundation Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program (AADR/ADEA ADCFP), the American Association of Medical Colleges and ADEA Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (AAMC/ADEA SMDEP), the Pre Health Advisors Program, the ExploreHealthCareers.org website [LINK], continued engagement with our colleagues at the American Association of Dental Research (AADR)/International Association of Dental Research (IADR), and the great centers and divisions within ADEA can meet those challenges on a daily basis.”

Dr. Rouse has put a large number of issues on the table, but he firmly believes they are all keys to the future of dental education. “I do believe that 10 years from now, dental education will be more collaborative with other health professions,” he says. “Clinical activities will be truly collaborative, ensuring patient-centered, team based care with multidisciplinary clinical environments. Didactic learning will be virtual, and technology will be the cornerstone of teaching and learning.”

“I want to continue our commitment to positive relationships with all of the ADEA Councils,” said Dr. Rouse, and he looks forward to including new and exciting programs from members at the 2012 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition. The invitation to submit abstracts for educational programming will be open in mid-April, and Dr. Rouse encourages all members of the health care community to participate. 

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