Clinical Research Rotation at the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research

Abstract

This project aims to create a clinical research course at the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research (MCOHR) for third year dental students. Currently, dental students rarely experience the unique opportunities this center has to offer because it is offsite. The rotation could bring valuable educational enhancements to the dental curriculum. There is currently a lack in the curriculum regarding dental innovation and evidence-based dentistry, yet MCOHR could provide the missing component.

The objective of this project is to make MCOHR's exceptional opportunities accessible to all dental students and to develop a dental student who better understands and appreciates clinical research as an integral part of the dental profession and can incorporate it into future practice.

We have designed a preliminary rotation for third year students, and in the coming year will implement it in the curriculum. This rotation will be required of all students. We will also look to future opportunities to expand the course and learning opportunities for students of all levels.

Dental students will become more familiar with clinical research practices and issues specific to human-subject research, specifically the roles of the research team and the process and regulations involved in designing a clinical trial. They will be exposed to advanced procedures not often encountered in the undergraduate curriculum and will be able to experience some of the latest technology used in dental care, such as digital radiography. Finally, students will be introduced to the process of evaluating a clinical trial for effectiveness of design and implementation and begin to understand how this may affect results and conclusions.

The coming year will bring new challenges and will be a test of the course's strategy and value. We will also create new opportunities for students to learn about evidence-based dentistry throughout the entire four-year curriculum.