It is often stated that the oral health problems facing our nation extend beyond primary disease or developmental pathologies, but are complex and multi-factorial to include genetic, social, cultural, behavioral and environmental factors. In order to effectively manage oral health problems we need to address the multifactorial nature of these conditions. It is our hypothesis that to comprehensively addressing these oral health needs requires individuals who can not only advance the science and discovery processes, but who can also lead and be effective members of multidisciplinary teams. Addressing the oral needs of the nation will require interdisciplinary teams a uniquely trained group of scientists who not only have a firm understanding of the multi-factorial components of the complex oral, dental and craniofacial diseases, but who can also be effective leaders or members of interdisciplinary teams. Clearly, the era of solo or tower-based science programs has passed and highly effective research involves teams of clinicians and scientists. The purpose of this proposed training program is to develop a cohort of successful, independent, basic, clinical and translational Oral Health Research Scholars who can function as interactive scientists to address the nation?s healthcare needs in dental, oral and craniofacial research. As designed, our program embraces the full spectrum of basic, translational and clinical research including fundamental mechanisms of human disease, therapeutic intervention, clinical trials, oral epidemiology, health services research and health policy. Our goal is to create a new cadre of highly interactive scientists who can serve as research leaders in academic dentistry and research institutions. The NextGen program encompasses three Ph.D. degree granting curricula and training in Oral Biology;Health Policy and Management, or Oral Epidemiology;one M.S. degree granting curriculum and training for Dentists in Clinical Research;and a postdoctoral fellowship for individuals seeking advanced research opportunities in Oral Biology, Health Policy/Management, or Oral Epidemiology The objectives of the UNC NextGen Training Program are to: 1. Train a cadre of oral health scientists able to conduct research in a multidisciplinary setting by recruiting high quality trainees into the five components of our proposed program leading to Ph.D. and M.S. degrees or postdoctoral research fellowship. 2. Expand our current recruitment efforts targeting under-represented minorities and women and incorporate career development components designed to retain these researchers in academic settings. 3. Provide trainees with the necessary didactic and experiential training so that each can develop and apply skills in various cutting edge technologies, such as functional genomics, bioinformatics, and systems biology, for the purpose of rigorous biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research. 4. Provide opportunities for formal training in career development skills that include experimental design, biostatistics and data analysis, manuscript and grant writing, clinical trials coordination and management, data base management, responsible conduct of research, and ethics. 5. Provide opportunities for formal and experiential leadership training (conflict resolution, team management, and cultural competency), permitting trainees to function as leaders and effective members of research teams that integrate multidisciplinary activities ranging from molecules to populations. 6. Facilitate transition of T90 trainees to individual research training awards or other mechanisms of research training support and assist them in career development.
Significance of NextGen Training The oral health problems facing our nation extend beyond primary disease or developmental pathologies to include genetic, social, cultural, behavioral and environmental factors. The appropriate response is a multidisciplinary research workforce who have been trained to not only advance the science and discovery processes, but who can also lead and participate in multidisciplinary teams to solve complex problems that will ultimately improve the health of the public.
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