Bulletin of Dental Education

Statements of the Nominees for 2016-2017 Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors

 Permanent link   All Posts

Members of the ADEA House of Delegates will vote for the Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors at the 2016 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in Denver. The ADEA Board of Directors has accepted the recommendations of the ADEA Nominating Committee and slated three candidates for the 2016–17 Chair-elect: Leon A. Assael, D.M.D., CMM; Valerie A. Murrah, D.M.D., M.S.; and John N. Williams, D.M.D., M.B.A. Following are their personal statements.

Leon A. Assael, D.M.D., CMM

Leon AssaelMy thanks to our colleagues in dental education for being nominated as the 2016 Chair- elect of the ADEA Board of Directors. We dental educators are in the midst of enormous change in health sciences education, society and the human experience. We can simply be witnesses to that change, or we can embrace it and lead necessary change, thus improving dental education and the oral health of people. 

Our task is to innovate; to make dental education THE leader in health science education. We must have the courage, wisdom, discipline-based knowledge, energy and desire to fundamentally transform dental education for the future. That task is all the more essential because much of dental education today seems unreasonably attached to the century of success of our current educational model. The gap between our programs and the needs of the public for oral health is growing. For dental education today, the adage applies: “Past success is not a predictor of future performance.” Now is the time that dental education must aggressively apply the remarkable advances of the past decade toward building a new model of dental schools for the future, so that dental education can further realize its goal of being an essential vehicle for a better world. 

Some of the key arenas for change are the methods of acquiring and applying knowledge, addressing the inadequacies of the clinical practicum, building the allied/dentist oral health team, realizing the dream of developing diversity in the oral health professions, national licensure/portability, and dental education’s role in health systems. A true transformation of our programs is inevitable and actually in progress. Only one organization is in the premier position to lead these changes for the benefit of our schools, our students and the public. It is the American Dental Education Association.

The means of change in ADEA are the engagement and action of the faculty (D.D.S./D.M.D., graduate and allied) and students. A learning community of scholars is the fundamental strength of our organization. Within our midst are the content leaders, university colleagues, industrial partners and the health professions able to lead change. We act through ADEA initiatives in the councils, the annual and fall meetings, in task forces and in the administrative boards. All of this is made effective through the leadership and expertise of our amazing Washington staff, headed by Rick Valachovic. In ADEA this year, I have worked with our team on the allied health task force, improving the development of dental hygiene and dental therapy within ADEA, on the live patient exam task force to develop an OSCE examination for licensure, and on the administrative board of the ADEA Council of Deans.

In my career as full-time faculty of four dental schools (University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry, and University of Minnesota School of Dentistry) and a part-time faculty member or student at seven more (Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, New York University College of Dentistry, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and University of Washington School of Dentistry), I have experienced many of the thrills and foibles that dental education has to offer: the great student review (or the poor one), the academic promotion process, the research grant (or the “good” score that falls short), administration that leads (and administration that frustrates), patient care that brings smiles (and that which brings sleepless nights), but mostly the joy of the privilege of being a teacher. That is embodied by our relationships to one another in the family of educators that is ADEA. 

Valerie A. Murrah, D.M.D., M.S.

Valerie MurrahWhat a distinct honor it is to be nominated for Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors! During the past three years, I have been privileged to serve as Board Director for Faculties and have become increasingly impressed with the quality of this organization to which we all belong. The vision, outreach, innovation and responsiveness of ADEA are remarkable and we are fortunate to have a President and CEO in Dr. Rick Valachovic, who has cultivated a unique team of talented staff who are dedicated both to meeting the needs of members and to addressing issues of the communities with which we interface. I have truly seen the results of the “relentless pursuit of strategic alliances,” as ADEA is a well-respected organization in Washington and beyond.

It is an exciting time to be a dental educator! We are challenged by new forms of health care delivery, evolving disease patterns, teaching technology innovations and ever-present financial issues. Change is the major theme! The challenge is to be optimally proactive and willing to create the types of change we envision. I submit to you that I possess the educational background and diverse experiences to help us move toward our goals in the pursuit of educating competent, caring, ethical oral health care practitioners.

I am currently Chair of Diagnostic Sciences and Director of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, holding joint appointments in Pathology and in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery in the medical school. I have been involved in academic leadership in multiple areas, serving as President of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, and subsequently as President of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 

My ADEA service has involved multiple councils: the Council of Faculties, as Chair and Board Director; the Council of Sections, as Chair of the Pathology Section; and the Council of Hospitals and Advanced Education Programs, as invited representative when the council formed. I’ve chaired the Women’s Affairs Advisory Committee and served on the Task Force for Student Debt and Borrowing. 

Importantly, in addition to ADEA, I have held roles in the International Association for Dental Research and the American Dental Association, including representative to the Council on Scientific Affairs. I represent my specialty in the Organized Dentistry Coalition and have the distinction of having been Vice President of the Intersociety Pathology Council, the collaborative of all pathology organizations in the United States and Canada, the only dentist to have held the position!

In summary, I believe that being an educator is about empowerment. We have the ability to empower our patients to become healthier, our students to become lifelong learners and our organizations to become more effective and more nimble. Working on the Board, I have been empowered by the energy that emanates from the strong collective work of ADEA. I am excited to use that energy to move forward to represent you as Chair-elect. Together, we can use education to save lives and to improve the quality of those lives! 

John N. Williams, D.M.D., M.B.A.

John WilliamsI am honored to be nominated as 2016 Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors. I aspire to the Chair-elect position to heighten several essential themes for ADEA to enhance its prominent work as The Voice of Dental Education:

1)    Educational Innovation: Explore new models of education and assessment to address things like the cost (institutionally and for students) of dental education, and explore greater use of competency-based and advanced placement strategies to document educational achievement in compliance with accreditation standards;
2)    Research Capacity Building: Stimulate and encourage the science of discovery, application and dissemination to enhance a culture of inquiry within all dental educational programs; and 
3)    Professional Development: Prepare faculty for new student expectations as digital natives, teaching technologies, curriculum innovations and student assessment.

We also must work even more closely than ever before with other health professions through interprofessional collaborations (IPE and IPP) to further advance our oral health education, research and practice agenda. Emerging workforce models are highly relevant as our profession explores new ways to provide access to affordable dental care.

My breadth and depth of experience first as a private practitioner, followed by serving as a dental faculty member, academic dean, and now dean at three universities, has provided me tremendous experience to address the contemporary and emerging issues facing the dental practice and education communities. I have been an AADS/ADEA member for 28 years, serving in numerous leadership positions, including as various section officers, on the boards of the Council of Sections and Council of Deans, and two terms as a vice president (Sections and Deans) to the AADS/ADEA Board of Directors. I have just completed a four-year term as a CODA Commissioner, serving my final year on the Commission as Chair. I am an active site visitor and a firm believer in the process of accrediting all oral health academic programs to ensure academic quality and to educate competent graduates to serve the public good.

In the book Road to Relevance (Coerver and Byers 2013), the authors caution longstanding organizations to be diligent to define their strategy as “the skilled, creative, and disciplined use of an organization’s resources to achieve its objectives,” or face a significant decline in relevance to membership and society. ADEA has a sound strategic plan with focused emphasis on capacity building, research, teaching and learning, leadership development and service. It would be an honor for me to serve in leadership as we foster the continued growth of ADEA—an extremely relevant organization—as The Voice of Dental Education in a rapidly changing health care environment.

Thank you for your support. 

Duggan ad 2013