Bulletin of Dental Education

ADEA Releases Dentists of Tomorrow 2020

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2020 was an unusual year for school graduations. At a time of the academic year when senior predoctoral dental students complete their didactic and clinical experiences, plan for their licensure exams and seek positions in practice or advanced education, significant changes occurred to address the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on dental education—classes moved online, patients’ willingness and ability to access care was limited and new measures were taken to ensure the safety of patients and providers. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. dental schools stood steady in their mission to educate, support and launch the careers of many students in the rewarding profession of dentistry.

In March 2021, ADEA released new research on the journey of U.S. dental schools’ predoctoral senior class of 2020, from influences on and their motivations to pursue careers in dentistry, aspects of their dental school experiences, to plans upon graduation and the investment in their careers. This research reports findings from data collected through the ADEA Survey of U.S. Dental School Seniors, 2020 Graduating Class (henceforth called “the ADEA 2020 survey”). While ADEA has been conducting this survey annually for the decades, the research around the 2020 results takes a new approach. 

This research was not limited to the 2020 aggregate results but extended into trend analysis. Whenever feasible, the 2020 survey respondents’ answers were compared with their 2015 counterparts. Further, the analysis conducted a comparison of the response distribution of the overall response sample with the response distribution of historically underrepresented and marginalized (HURM) predoctoral senior students. This allows a better understanding of the HURM student journey and difference with the overall respondents.

This new ADEA release tells the story of the U.S. dental schools’ predoctoral senior class of 2020 with the help of a number of different products. Browse the findings and the research products part of this release at ADEA.org/Seniors2020.

ADEA members can access the full report at no charge in the March issue of the Journal of Dental Education . Members can also read a summary report on the ADEA website at ADEA.org/Seniors2020. The summary report is available for download and print, but also as an online storyboard with the charts available in interactive format. Finally, members can access the aggregate data behind the research through the ADEA Senior Student Dashboard, an interactive, online tool available through ADEA.org/Seniors2020. The dashboard tells the story of the journey of a senior student before dental school, their dental school experience, plans upon graduation and their investment in a career in dentistry. Beyond the interactive visual charts, members can download the data behind the graphs.

ADEA Senior Student Dashboard 2020

Access the ADEA Senior Student Dashboard at ADEA.org/Seniors2020.

The “Dentists of Tomorrow 2020” is the first issue of a new ADEA series—ADEA Education Research Series. The new series is part of a larger effort ADEA is undertaking to create research content that is more relevant to the dental education community by providing timely information in interactive formats and engaging data stories. The ADEA Office of Policy and Education Research is improving access to ADEA’s research results and employing new media and formats to bring this information to members. 

For any questions/comments about this project, contact Emilia Istrate, Ph.D., ADEA Senior Vice President of Policy and Education Research, at istratee@adea.org.

Published on March 10, 2021


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