From the ivory tower: Academia and industry working together

June 1, 2008
The Center for Research and Education in Technology Evaluation (CRETE), located at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, has begun a fundraising drive for its Innovation Center.

By Dr. Edward Rossomando and Mathew Moura

The Center for Research and Education in Technology Evaluation (CRETE), located at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, has begun a fundraising drive for its Innovation Center. This Innovation Center, the first facility of its kind in the United States, is a result of more than four years planning by CRETE and the Industry Advisory Council (IAC).

The Innovation Center: A dental school experimental dental office to showcase next-generation products and equipment

Responding to the need of the dental industry for a site to introduce new products and equipment for dental students that mirrors what they experience following graduation, the Innovation Center is to be configured as a private practice dental office and includes a dental laboratory, sterilization area, reception area, records area, staff areas, and consultation areas. Treating patients within such a facility will allow dental students to experience and learn about activities in a dental office. Students will be involved in all aspects of Innovation Center operations ranging from personnel and inventory control to marketing, branding, and financial management of the Innovation Center, and will also include decisions regarding acquisition of equipment and products for patient treatment. By providing a venue for teaching these activities, the IAC hopes that dental graduates can enter practice without the costs and time commitments associated with the lengthy learning curve traditionally associated with this process.

The widening gap between dental practice and dental school facilities

The Innovation Center is also designed to respond to a need of both the dental industry and the practicing dentist, namely a need for dental graduates familiar with and competent to use the latest in products and equipment. This need has arisen in part from the proliferation of new products and equipment and the inability of dental schools to acquire and introduce these products and equipment quickly and include them in the dental school clinical curriculum. As a result, a gap has developed between dental school clinical teaching and dental practice.

To close this gap, the IAC together with CRETE&rquo;s dental practitioners have developed a program to introduce the latest products and equipment into the Innovation Center. The program calls for encouraging the dental industry to offer products and equipment to the Innovation Center, either as gifts or on consignment, for use by students under supervision of faculty and the corporate donor. The intent is to allow students to become familiar with the latest products in the marketplace and to allow the company donor to monitor the use of their product and equipment under controlled conditions.

Video monitoring and Webcasting

Monitoring of the Innovation Center will be facilitated by the use of video. Accordingly, all operations within the Innovation Center, including dental procedures and office management, will be video-monitored and broadcast to nearby lecture rooms or to the facilities of the corporate donor for study and analysis. It is expected that companies will be able to develop the next generation of products quicker and at a significant cost-saving.

Is your company a match for the Innovation Center?

CRETE and its Industry Advisory Council are seeking companies with an interest in the Innovation Center. We seek companies, both manufacturers and distributors, interested in dental education and in helping to close the gap between dental school clinical activities and dental practice.

We encourage interested dental companies to contact CRETE&rquo;s Director, Dr. Edward F. Rossomando ([email protected]) or any of the IAC members listed below.


Mr. Carl Bretko, Senior VP JEP Management


Mr. Wayne Aho, Director of Domestic Sales, A-dec, Inc.
Mr. John Bettencourt, Vice President, Marketing, Patterson Dental
Mr. Charles Cohen, President, Benco Dental Company
Mr. Dell Dine, Vice President, Research and Development, National Dentex Corp
Mr. William P. Dragan, President, Centrix Inc.
Mr. Frederick Eichmiller, Vice President, Delta Dental of Wisconsin
Ms. Mildred Goldstein, President, Harry J. Bosworth Company
Dr. Ralph Green, President and CEO, Ralph Green, DDS PC
Mr. Gordon Hagler, President, DentalEZ Group
Dr. Jeffery Hillman, CSO, Oragenics, Inc.
Mr. Alan Kegerise, Sales Manager, Premier Dental Products
Mr. David Rodriguez, VP, Professional Relations, Henry Schein, Inc.
Ms. Nancy Sakaduski, President, Sakaduski Marketing Group
Dr. George Tysowsky, Vice President of Technology, Ivoclar North America