ADEA Washington Update

Why Dental and Craniofacial Research Funding Is Critical to Dental Schools

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The research mission of dental schools is facing several challenges, including a critical shortage of faculty. Economic barriers often deter potential researchers from careers as scientific investigators. The demands to make money after graduation often further restricts who enters the field.  Yet, without these researchers we would not have many of the scientific advances we have now.  According to Dr. Martha J. Somerman, Director of NIDCR, “some of the most interesting issues in human biology and public health” include “defining the developmental genomics of the human head and face, developing saliva-based tests to detect disease, targeting therapies to directly halt head and neck cancer, tracking the structural dynamics of the microbial communities that inhabit the mouth, developing better pain management, regenerating bones and teeth, and exploiting our natural immunity to fight infection and inflammation.” 

In FY2017 NIDCR received a federal appropriation of $425.8 million. In FY18 they received $447.7 million.  Much of their funding has been passed on to dental institutions in the form of grants. In fact, in FY17, 47 U.S. dental institutions received grants from NIDCR. These grants allowed for research that would directly impact the nation’s oral and craniofacial health. NIDCR-supported research involves taking a broad array of approaches to public health research, population-health studies, clinical trials, and community-based studies. ADEA fights for NIDCR funding every fiscal year and will continue to do so to ensure a healthy pipeline of oral health researchers and faculty.

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