Bulletin of Dental Education

Statements of the Nominees for 2019–20 Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors—November 2018

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Members of the ADEA House of Delegates will vote for the Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors at the 2019 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in Chicago, IL. The ADEA Board of Directors has accepted the recommendations of the ADEA Nominating Committee and slated three candidates for the 2019–20 Chair-elect: Denise K. Kassebaum, D.D.S., M.S., Ryan Quock, D.D.S., and Karen P. West, D.M.D., M.P.H. Following are their personal statements. 

KassebaumDenise K. Kassebaum, D.D.S., M.S.
Dean and Professor of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences 
University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine

I am honored to be nominated for the position of 2019 Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors. This is an exciting time to be a member of ADEA, as health professions education and health care are being disrupted by new technologies, scientific research discoveries, changes in health care and care delivery, demographic changes in our providers and patients, and other environmental factors.

The impact of ADEA is felt within and outside dental education through its national and international initiatives and strategic alliances. Today, ADEA is 20,000 members strong and represents the students, residents, faculty, and staff at the 76 dental schools in the United States and Canada; the over 1,000 allied and advanced dental education programs; and over 60 corporate members. The mission of ADEA is to lead institutions and individuals in the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research and the delivery of oral health care for the overall health and safety of the public.

Throughout my own career, ADEA has served as a professional compass, providing direction through faculty development, leadership training, peer networks, and the opportunity to contribute to national initiatives I am truly passionate about. My service on two of its seven councils, and on its commissions, task forces, institutes and international committees, has given me a great appreciation for the strength of ADEA’s diverse voices and its power in North America and abroad.

I am currently the Chair of the ADEA Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (ADEA CCI) 2.0 Steering Committee. In this role I have the great privilege to work with talented champions of innovation, faculty leaders from different types of academic dental institutions and programs, CCI liaisons, students and residents, and ADEA’s talented professional staff. Together, we have set goals to support person-centered care provision, to graduate future-ready graduates, and to inspire transformative learning institutions. My recent service on the Task Force for the Assessment of Readiness to Practice, working with colleagues from the ADA and ASDA to create a call to action to modernize dental licensure, has fueled my passion to drive national change on behalf of new graduates and a more mobile dental faculty. I have been privileged to participate on the planning committee for the 2019 ADEA International Women’s Leadership Conference VI to be held in Brescia, Italy, working with colleagues from the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE), and others, to create a forum for highlighting the achievements of women around the globe. These roles have taught me the importance of listening before forging a consensus vision to move forward, the excitement of embracing innovation and change, the value of collaboration in pursuit of changing long-standing practices, and the importance of globalization to dental education.

The upcoming years at ADEA will be marked by change as a new President and CEO is appointed, and as the ADEA Board of Directors finish a strategic planning process with input from the membership. What won’t change is the important role that ADEA plays in our academic dental institutions and programs, from centralized application services, to faculty development and leadership training, professional publications, federal advocacy and state-wide policy monitoring, and critical policy making to support students and faculty. I view the elected Chair of the Board, the directors of the seven ADEA councils, the President and CEO, and ADEA’s professional staff, as the strategic leadership team that works on behalf of ADEA’s 20,000 members. If selected, I will listen to ADEA’s diverse voices while working to provide collaborative leadership to advance ADEA’s strategic initiatives and alliances.

QuockRyan Quock, D.D.S.
Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics
University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston   

It is presently a fascinating era in dental education. New schools and programs are opening. More students than ever are pursuing postgraduate education. And ADEA—The Voice of Dental Education—has blossomed to include more than 20,000 individual members, with seven robust Councils. At the same time, the profession is wrestling with questions regarding the sustainability of educational models, appropriate assessment and pathways for our trainees, and the evolution of practice paradigms.

An anchor in the midst of these achievements and challenges is the undeniable observation that dental education has a seat at the table. In fact, ADEA has positioned itself as a leading voice at the table. It has truly been a privilege to grow in my professional career as dental education has experienced this renaissance, and I would consider it the highest honor to serve my colleagues as the Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors.

My educational pathway includes a double-major B.A. (Spanish Linguistics and Asian Studies) from Rice University, followed by a D.D.S. from University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. After some time practicing as a dentist in both federally qualified health center and private sector settings, I joined the faculty at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston (UTSD). I am grateful to have been promoted through the ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor, currently with the designation of University of Texas System Distinguished Teaching Professor. My schedule continues to regularly include teaching of dental hygiene and dental students, as well as resident thesis committees, with a scholarly emphasis on the intersection between preventive and restorative principles. 

It has been an honor to lead interprofessionally as Chair of the UT-Houston InterFaculty Council, consisting of faculty from our six component schools, represent Houston at the statewide UT System Faculty Advisory Council (14 UT academic campuses and health science centers), and be elected to membership in the system-wide Kenneth Shine Academy for Health Science Education. From these experiences I have gained insight both into the concerns of grass roots educators as well as the complex issues facing educational institutions and systems.

I have been a member of ADEA since the beginning of my academic career, actively participate in the Sections on Operative Dentistry and Biomaterials and Cariology and am proud to have been elected by my UTSD colleagues to represent them on the ADEA Council of Faculties (ADEA COF). The ADEA COF then elected me to their Administrative Board, where I led the development and launch of ADEA weTeach®, a unique online collection of peer-reviewed resources in teaching, learning and assessment. As a graduate of the ADEA Leadership Institute, it has been a pleasure to mentor colleagues through the ADEA Summer Program for Emerging Academic Leaders, as well as students at Houston as they re-booted our ADEA Student Chapter. Currently it is my honor to serve as ADEA Board Director for Faculties. This immersive ADEA experience has expanded my appreciation and understanding of dental education, and I feel especially invigorated as the ADEA Board of Directors engages in strategic planning this year.

In addition to these professional experiences, I am particularly grateful for the many colleagues that have impacted me. It might be said that the strength of ADEA lies in its membership; I have been mentored, encouraged and inspired by so many dental education friends over the years. The sum of these professional experiences and interactions have confirmed my desire to be a responsible steward of what has been passed on to me. Thus, I humbly request your consideration and support for the position of Chair-elect of the 2019–20 ADEA Board of Directors.

There are real issues and opportunities for dental education going forward, and ADEA is poised as never before to lead the way. I believe that my experiences and empathies put me in an ideal position to not only understand the diversity of triumphs and circumstances that lie ahead, but also rally the membership to meet those milestones with optimism and excellence. It would be an honor to serve ADEA and dental education as the Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors—thank you for your consideration!

WestKaren P. West, D.M.D., M.P.H.
Dean and Professor of Biomedical Sciences
University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine   

It would be a true honor to be selected as Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors. I have been involved with academic dentistry for over 30 years and it has been one of the greatest passions in my life. Currently, I am at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Dental Medicine where I have served as Dean for 12 years. I plan on stepping down from this role on June 30, 2019, which will allow me more time to devote to ADEA, if elected. I have been involved with ADEA throughout my career, having served on the Administrative Boards of both the ADEA Council of Faculties and the Council of Deans. As Dean, I have been proud to support the participation of faculty and students in many of the ADEA activities. I believe that dental education is and will be facing critical challenges in the very near future, making it extremely difficult for me to focus on a single platform for election. Therefore, I have selected two very distinct and diverse agendas, if elected. I consider both equally important.

The first is the blurring of the lines between academic dentistry and the business systems within. Each has its own culture defined by unique core objectives. A new paradigm is emerging. It has always been difficult to integrate the two while assigning responsibilities and ensuring appropriate resources are available between the two domains. Now, with the increasing government regulatory state and federal oversight on health care business models, a dental school must consider which direction dental education should follow—the more traditional academic pathway or a more integrated focus that combines both academics and a clinical business model. Lower state support for schools has served to drive this to the forefront of concerns at a much faster pace than initially anticipated. I think this concern is one that must be addressed quickly and with great thought and discussion among our communities of interest. “Compliance” is a word that has only recently been viewed in the dental school vocabulary, but brings with it substantial costs for audits, prevention or regulatory fines that have not been traditionally figured into operating budgets. Legal advice or knowledge in the dental institution environment is becoming more and more essential. A year ago, only five dental schools had dedicated compliance officers. Unless the parent institution contains an academic health center, dental schools may be unaware of their true risks and liability. In order to maintain our standing and heritage as academic institutions, we need to define ourselves better, distinguishing between the hospital financial enterprise and the academic teaching model that will ensure sustainability of dental education.

My other focus would be on the wellness of our students, faculty and staff. In these days of chaos, disrespect and divisiveness, it is essential that our dental schools be a safe and friendly environment for our students to study, work and treat patients; for our faculty to teach, mentor and do research; and for our staff to assist and train. The time has come for us to change the conversation from burnout to wellness, moving beyond simply discussion to that of a shared definition of wellness with interventional strategies. We must do everything we can to provide the necessary resources to support a holistic and inclusive environment that is welcoming to all. Whether it be counseling services, workout facilities or weight loss classes, a mindfulness is needed to promote wellness on our dental school campuses. Dentistry is not all about the cavity preparation; it is about treating the whole patient; just as the dentist is not about just their handskills, it is about the whole dentist, mind and body.

Both of these areas are very important to me and I pledge, if elected, to work extremely hard in effecting change where needed. In addition, I would listen and work with the Councils on areas of concern to each of you. I am committed to the betterment of ADEA. Part of that betterment is increasing inclusiveness and a welcoming feeling to all that we serve. I would appreciate your vote.

Published on November 14, 2018

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