This career development K12 application is a new proposal to establish a Dental Specialty and PhD program (DSPP) at the UCLA School of Dentistry. The primary objective of the UCLA DSPP is to generate a small but highly effective group of future dentist-scientist scholars capable of addressing the grand challenges facing our profession in the next several decades. We envision that such dentist-scientist scholars will  lead the scientific research addressing our patient-oriented dental and craniofacial challenges;  inspire young dentists to pursue academic and scientific careers; and  develop a critical mass of dentist-scientists with diverse backgrounds, who will assure dentistry remains a learned profession steeped in scientific excellence. UCLA School of Dentistry has established outstanding postgraduate dental training programs that include 7 Graduate Medical Education (GME)-supported dental specialty residency programs. In the revised application, we propose three consecutive years of full time supervised research training supported by K12 followed by advanced clinical training in a selected dental specialty including concentrated patient care supported by GME. Our DSPP program proposes extensive integrations between PhD research and Specialty trainings through creative programing. The K12 research training includes both PhD research and patient and clinical specialty oriented research projects mentored by research mentor and specialty mentor, respectively. A critical authentic task is designed integrating research and specialty clinical training. The PD/PI, Specialty Mentor and Research Mentor will form a cohesive alliance to support research training and personal/professional development of each DSPP Scholar. The Specialty mentor-Research mentor alliance with DSPP Scholar will create a new network to impact the patient-oriented research collaboration. DSPP Scholars with underrepresented minority (URM) backgrounds will be actively recruited. UCLA School of Dentistry and Texas A&M University College of Dentistry will provide the URM candidate pool. UCLA DSPP will organize the evidence-based effective pedagogy providing all DSPP Scholars an equitable and inclusive learning experience. Finally, Scholars will enter the transition year supported by UCLA School of Dentistry to conduct postdoctoral research and to prepare independent research career. UCLA DSPP aims to achieve our long- term goals to increase the critical mass of dental school faculty, who contribute to both clinical and scientific excellence; to develop faculty diversity; and to construct collaborative networks involving clinician-scientists suitable for addressing patient-oriented challenges facing the current and future of dentistry.
UCLA Dental Specialty PhD Program (UCLA DSPP) is a new career development program for a small but selected group of dentists who pursue the dual training in dental specialty clinical training and rigorous scientific research training leading to the specialty certificate and PhD degree. UCLA DSPP Scholars are expected to take the leadership role in advancing patient-oriented challenges facing the current and future of dentistry.