It is with deep humility and a keen sense of honor that I accept the nomination of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Nominating Committee and the ADEA Board of Directors to stand for election as the 2010-11 ADEA President-elect.
Throughout my career, I have prepared for opportunities for leadership and service in those organizations that I believe are making a difference in the lives of the people in our profession.
ADEA is the organization that I embrace most closely as, like you, I see it improving the lives of our faculty, students, residents, fellows, and administrators, wherever they may be.
ADEA is unlike any other association of which I am aware in that it represents all of dental education, including predoctoral, allied, and advanced dental education, and the individuals within those academic dental institutions. In this way, ADEA truly lives up to its credo, "the voice of dental education."
Most of you know me as the current Dean of the Howard University College of Dentistry, serving in that capacity since 2004, but perhaps you are not as aware of the path that led me to this position. Prior to first joining the Howard faculty in 1997, I actively served 24 years in the United States Army. I concluded my career in the military at the rank of Colonel as Commander and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Army Dental Command. My 24 years of military experience include commanding the entire Army Dental Corps worldwide and 12 years in dental education and have given me a keen understanding of the value and importance of assuring the quality of education and the need for effective leadership throughout our professions.
Our patients expect that the quality of the care that we provide will be exceptional, and will be provided by practitioners who have the highest quality education and training.
I have also had the honor to serve in a number of key leadership positions within our profession that have given me an even wider perspective on the issues that we now face. For example, I am currently the Chair of the ADEA Council of Deans. I was appointed by ADEA in 2009 as one of the four ADEA commissioners on the Commission on Dental Accreditation. I serve on the Board of Directors of the American Dental Association Foundation as well as the National Children's Oral Health Foundation. These experiences and others have given me an insight into our profession and the need for leaders to engage everyone in our communities to find answers to the compelling challenges that we face.
The challenges that we face are both exciting and formidable. With the right blend of leadership, research, and collaboration, the dental education community can solve them. There are many questions being asked of us these days. How will we meet the future needs of academic dental institutions for faculty, deans, chairs, and program directors, especially at a time of dramatic expansion in the number of dental schools and allied dental education programs? We now have states that are offering OSCEs and PGY-1 experiences as alternatives to live patient examinations for licensure; how will these outcomes be used to improve certification for licensure in the future? New mid-level providers are being educated in certain areas - what will this mean for the future of oral health care and the dental team in the future?
It is clear that the curriculum that has served us so well in our schools and programs in the past will not be adequate for the future needs of our students across the span of their careers. How can the ADEA Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education continue to lead the discourse and changes that will result in new models of pedagogy in the future? What role should technology play in the emerging new models? How will we assess the quality of our educational programs and learning outcomes in these new models?
We are making strides in bringing those into our professions who have not had the opportunity to enter in the past because of their economic or educational disadvantage. How can we assure a diverse applicant pool for future generations? How will we facilitate the effective transfer of research outcomes and technology into our foundation knowledge and treatment practices in the future? In asking these questions, I believe that we can seek to find the answers for the introduction of innovations that have not been seen in decades.
I believe that my experience as a visionary and accomplished leader, my positive attitude, and my willingness to accept challenges directly provide the credentials required for leadership in ADEA at this time. I hope that you will join me in working to create a better future for our students, faculty, and the patients that we serve.
-Leo E. Rouse, D.D.S.