Dental school deans met February 26, 2010, at the ADEA/W.K. Kellogg Minority Dental Faculty Development (ADEA/WKKF MDFD) Capstone Meeting in Washington, DC. The Capstone Meeting featured keynote speaker Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, former President of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and current Executive Vice President at United Health Group. Dr. Tuckson challenged the deans to achieve transformative leadership, involving a unified vision for health, principled advocacy, comparative effectiveness, research, and shared power.
Eleven dental schools were included in the ADEA/WKKF MDFD grant program: University of Alabama at Birmingham, Baylor College of Dentistry, Howard University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Oklahoma, and the New York State Academic Dental Centers, a consortium that includes Columbia University, New York University, Stony Brook University, University at Buffalo and Eastman Institute for Oral Health. The grant objectives included a focus on institutional academic partnerships, formal mentoring, leveraging additional resources, community partnerships, tracking, and leadership/institutional climate.
A logic modeling strategy used by grantee schools for visioning, implementation, assessment, and sustainability planning was led by Dr. Joseph West, Westwell Group, the external evaluator for the grant, and Dr. Diane Cline, graphic illustrator. The value of institutional site visits to program progress and institutional climate were shared by Dr. Richard Weaver, a member of the external evaluation team. In addition to academic partnerships, a variety of community partnerships (including nursing homes, school clinics, community practices, Indian Health Service clinics, and community dental centers) were featured as academic outreach collaborations that added value to both experiential learning and care to underserved patients. Formal, informal, and peer mentoring among postgraduates and faculty contributed to their program satisfaction and achievement of goals.
Deans from non-grantee institutions were invited to attend the meeting to gain lessons learned and best practices shared by deans and program directors at grantee schools. One-third of the U.S. dental deans attended the meeting, which featured small-group interaction and sharing outcomes from surveys, reports, institutional site visits, and interviews with deans, project directors, students, residents, and fellows.
The six-year, $2.4 million grant program was funded in response to the persistent shortage of dental faculty that creates approximately 360 vacancies per year. It was based on a "grow your own" philosophy recommended by a survey of dental deans (Dental school faculty shortages increase: an update on future dental school faculty, Journal of Dental Education, September 2000.
The ADEA/WKKF MDFD grant will terminate in June 2010. A final report and manual will be available for broad dissemination in fall 2010. Drs. Jeanne C. Sinkford and Richard W. Valachovic are Co-Directors of the ADEA/WKKF MDFD program. Lessons learned are expected to be useful in formulating strategies that will create and sustain an increasingly diverse dental academic workforce for the future. A preliminary report on the mentoring component appeared in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Dental Education (Modeling mentoring: Early lessons from the W.K. Kellogg/ADEA Minority Dental Faculty Development Program.)