In 2004, the dean of the OHSU School of Dentistry, Dr. Jack Clinton, launched an ambitious initiative to strategically change the way we train dentists. Three committees, comprised of basic and clinical science faculty and students, critically assessed the curriculum, research program, and use of educational technology. Two primary projects emerged: one is a complete restructuring of the curriculum and the other is an expansion of the clinical training program. We are committed to having these changes in place by our next accreditation site visit in 2009. An R25 award will enable us to strengthen the culture of research across the curriculum and in our clinics, develop research experiences for our students and clinical faculty, and train our faculty to reinforce science and research concepts in the clinics. The timing is perfect. The primary goals of this proposal are to 1) strengthen research literacy and the dependence on scientific evidence through workshops and team projects, and 2) develop a diverse set of research clerkships and electives in clinical, pre-clinical, and laboratory settings.
The specific aims are: 1) to develop workshops and seminars in clinically focused critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and integration of scientific evidence across the curriculum;2) to develop pathways for students to participate in significant and relevant research experiences in our dental clinics, practice-based research networks, and research and teaching laboratories;and 3) to create faculty enrichment programs to refresh faculty with science and research concepts and methods to enable them to reinforce these principles across the curriculum. The guiding principle for this proposal is to create a culture of research at the School of Dentistry at OHSU. Dental students who master the concepts of scientific reasoning, critical thinking and integration of scientific evidence will provide higher quality evidence-based health care throughout their careers. They will participate in practice-based research networks, review outcomes from their own practices, demand more scientific evidence in continuing education, and be more critical of new materials, devices and procedures. They will raise the practice of dentistry to new levels of excellence.
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