Advances in improving oral health depend upon producing well-trained and highly competent scientists capable of conducting rigorous dental, oral and craniofacial research, as well as working in multidisciplinary teams to translate research findings into applications that improve the health of the public. This proposed training program at the University of Washington (UW) is a competing renewal of an existing T90/R90 training grant on Comprehensive Training in Interdisciplinary Oral Health Research. Our previous NIDCR-funded training programs have been highly effective, with over 80% of our trainees from the prior 15 years currently working in research-intensive or research-related positions. We have successfully created and refined a comprehensive program that covers a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary oral health research areas. Research areas included are public health, behavioral, and clinical, as well as basic and translational. The multidisciplinary Department of Oral Health Sciences (OHS) in the School of Dentistry serves as the focal point for the program, providing core content for all trainees. Other participating departments include Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Health Services in the School of Public Health. Focal areas in basic and translational sciences include molecular and genetic approaches to health and disease; craniofacial structure, function and development; and stem cell biology/tissue regeneration/engineering. In the current application, our objectives are to: 1) provide rigorous, discipline-based training in basic/translational or public health/behavioral/clinical oral health research (achieved through departmental graduate programs and mentored research); and, 2) provide experiences that develop trainees' skills for participating as strong contributing members of multidisciplinary research teams (achieved through core seminars and research presentations, as well as individualized career development opportunities, based on the trainee's Individual Development Plan). Pre- doctoral training (2 PhD positions) is offered through PhD programs in all four participating departments. The DDS/PhD program (3 positions) is offered through the Oral Biology Graduate Program in OHS. Postdoctoral training (5 positions) is offered for PhD's working on oral health research topics, as well as for dentists seeking additional research training and experience. Included is 1 postdoctoral position designated for a non-citizen dentist interested in advanced research training in preparation for a research career, particularly in a US school of dentistry. The expected duration of appointments is 5 years for pre-doctoral and 2 or 3 years for postdoctoral trainees. We will evaluate the program based not only on process measures, but also on long- term outcomes, including positions taken by trainees and their success in them, the number, quality and multidisciplinary nature of scientific publications, and grants applied for and funded.
This grant will support the training of scientists working in a broad spectrum of oral health research, from basic and translational biological research, to clinical, public health and behavioral research. We will provide trainees not only with strong research skills in their specific disciplines, but also with skills to contribute to the work of multidisciplinary research teams in order to better translate their research findings into clinical and community- based applications that improve the health of the public.
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