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ADEA Institutional Capacity Building - October 2014

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In September, the ADEA Institutional Capacity Building (ADEA ICB) portfolio guided ADEA members on developing a successful research career via a webinar titled “Navigating the Research Landscape: Key Strategies for Success.” For the continued success of dental education professionals, research and scientific discovery must serve as core missions for each academic dental institution. Research and scientific discovery must be integrated throughout academia and patient care in the educational and professional settings.

Within the last decade, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) funding to academic dental institutions has declined. For example, in 2012, academic dental institutions received about 45% of NIDCR’s extramural funding, compared to 50% a decade ago.

Three research experts led the panel discussion: Eric T. Everett, M.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry; Ana Karina Mascarenhas, B.D.S., M.P.H., Dr. P.H., Associate Dean for Research, Chief of Developmental Sciences, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine; and Charles Sfeir, D.D.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Director, Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.

All shared how their passion motivates them to find answers in key questions in dentistry. Each panel member took turns leading the discussion of six relevant research topics: passion, goal setting, funding, mentoring, time management and publishing. Throughout the discussion, the panel members gave relevant examples from their experiences.

They first addressed the need for researchers to find a relevant, interesting topic. The speakers suggested creating a list of personally interesting topics to serve as a first-step in creating a road map to finding a relevant topic. Next they discussed goal setting, how to handle setbacks and how key it is to remain flexible in trying to meet goals. After finding a key topic, the most important key to starting is to find funding, both institutional and national, from federal agencies, which can be found in the slide presentation.

To find guidance during the research process, faculty should to find a mentor. The panelists addressed how to approach someone, what qualities mentors should possess and how to choose someone who has the time to be a supporter throughout the process. Next, the speakers addressed time management strategies for working full-time as a faculty member and also finding time to do the research. Their suggestions included dedicating a set number of hours on certain days to complete writing.

Finally, publishing findings is important. If findings go unpublished, the panelists stressed, others can’t learn from the research efforts and findings, thus negating the efforts put into researching a topic. 

To learn about latest in curricular change and innovation, check out the ADEA CCI Liaison Ledger.

Duggan Dental