Talking about dental hygiene research

Over the course of the last five years, the National Center for Dental Hygiene Research and Practice has offered two global research conferences.

By JoAnn R. Gurenlian,RDH, PhD

Over the course of the last five years, the National Center for Dental Hygiene Research and Practice has offered two global research conferences. These conferences have sparked interest in achieving a greater understanding of dental hygiene research and promoted the dissemination of new findings impacting education and practice.

The conferences have been well attended and inspiring. This year, the center is offering its third North American/Global Dental Hygiene Research Conference from October 16-18 at the Double Tree Conference Center Hotel in Bethesda, Md.

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For those of you who love research, this meeting is a must-attend. For those of you who would rather do anything than talk about dental hygiene research, you might be surprised to learn that this event is likely to be one of the most cutting-edge conferences you could attend.

The theme for the research conference is, "Beyond the Boundaries: Discovery, Innovation and Transformation." The meeting is designed for dental hygiene researchers, educators and clinicians, graduate program directors and students, journal editors, professional organizations and industry, and representatives from national organizations such as the National Institutes for Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The goals of the conference are varied and designed to bring the international dental hygiene community together to:

  • Share new knowledge obtained through research investigations
  • Explore how to translate research to practice in a meaningful and useful manner
  • Disseminate new knowledge gained from research to support evidence-based practice
  • Increase and diversify the number of individuals engaged in oral health research
  • Build collegial relationships among oral health researchers and organizations representing academia, government, and industry
  • Captivate, advance, and nurture a cadre of dental hygiene researchers
  • Provide information about valid and useful research tools and resources
  • Provide workshops for hands-on training in scientific writing, editorial review, searching for best evidence, and teaching research methods
  • Mentor student and novice investigators in preparation for careers in research

Dental hygienists from around the world will share their original research, and invited speakers will present new research related to oral cancer, tobacco addiction and cessation interventions, prevention, quality assurance, interdisciplinary health care, health literacy, and advances in technology to improve global oral health. Special sessions are devoted to clinicians who wish to use best practices to enhance patient care.

In addition, a half-day workshop for educators will be offered on October 19 titled, "A Practical Guide to Incorporating Research & Evidence-Based Decision Making into the Dental Hygiene Curriculum." This workshop will be complimentary to conference registrants, and also offered as a free-standing event for those who are unable to attend the main conference.

Registration for this conference is available through the dhnet at https://usc.edu/dhnet. Dr. Jane Forrest, Director, and Dr. Ann Spolarich, Associate Director, National Center for Dental Hygiene Research & Practice can be contacted directly for additional information (jforrest@usc.edu or anneshspo@aol.com).

Having attended the two prior research conferences, I found myself captivated by the science that was discussed, and inspired by my colleagues who strive to contribute to the innovation and discovery that is part of the discipline of dental hygiene. These conferences celebrate science and promote lifelong learning. It is my hope in sharing information about this third research conference that you will put this meeting at the top of your list of events to attend this autumn. You will walk away with a new appreciation for the contributions dental hygienists make to science and for the opportunity to use new knowledge in your practice setting. Join us!

JOANN R. GURENLIAN, RDH, PhD, is president of Gurenlian & Associates, and provides consulting services and continuing-education programs to health-care providers. She is a professor and dental hygiene graduate program director at Idaho State University, and president of the International Federation of Dental Hygienists.

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