Today's News: Tuesday, March 16
Innovation and Adaptation in Teledentistry:
A Q&A With Chair of the Board Symposium Panelist Dr. Mayank Kakkar
Today’s ADEA Chair of Board Symposium will focus on innovation and adaptation, particularly in the dynamic field of teledentistry.
During the educational session at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Utilization of Teledentistry for Children and Adults With Developmental Disorder, panelists Mayank Kakkar, B.D.S., M.H.A.; David F. Fray, D.D.S., M.B.A.; Allen Wong, D.D.S., Ed.D.; Michelle Cornachia, M.D.; and Steven Perlman, D.D.S., M.Sc.D., D.H.L., will discuss several topics related to teledentistry, including the role teledentistry plays during a pandemic, which offers a prospect to deliver uninterrupted clinical care and the opportunity to triage the urgent disorders that need onsite visits.
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Mayank Kakkar, B.D.S., M.H.A.
Below, Dr. Kakkar shares what attendees can expect to learn about teledentistry for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the profession in general.
Why is teledentistry relevant to patients with developmental disorders?
Dr. Kakkar: Teledentistry has a wide scope and is relevant to a broader aspect of dentistry. However, in this presentation, we are covering its role and utilization on people with special health care needs.
Do you think dentists and dental education are developing a growing interest in teledentistry? If so, why?
Dr. Kakkar: Absolutely! There definitely has been increased interest in teledentistry due to more information that is now available. Also, teledentistry has opened eyes during this pandemic by playing a very significant role. However, there is more education and advocacy required.
Do you think this topic will continue to be of interest when the COVID-19 pandemic ends? If so, why do you think so?
Dr. Kakkar: Yes, I think this topic is going to continue growing, even after the pandemic ends since teledentistry can bridge the oral health disparity gap for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities and improve access to care and to facilities with a more friendly environment.
During this session, what conversation or topic are you particularly looking forward to having with the other speakers?
Dr. Kakkar: We will be talking about the utilization of teledentistry for people with intellectual disabilities, workflow, billing, documentation, virtual dental homes and Special Olympics Healthy Athletes screening.
Who would be the ideal person to attend this session?
Dr. Kakkar: Honestly, I think this topic will be of interest to all the dentists, dental students, hygienists, hygiene students, academicians, educators, care coordination teams, case managers and many more.
Plenary and Chair of the Board Symposium Stress
Advocacy for Access, Diversity and Inclusion
#1 Leading Rusher in NFL History
On Monday, March 15, access, diversity and inclusion were the themes of the day and the starting points of discussion at both the ADEA Tapestry Table Plenary with NFL legend Emmitt Smith and the ADEA Chair of the Board Symposium—Missing at the Table: Exploring Administrative Pipeline Gaps and Solutions.
During the plenary session, sponsored by The Procter and Gamble Company and GSK Consumer Healthcare, the NFL Hall of Fame running back, three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys and winner of Dancing with the Stars shared with ADEA Diversity Officer Sonya Smith, Ed.D., J.D., not only what motivates him to break records. Mr. Smith also shared the role athletes are playing in social justice movements, race relations and increasing the representation of women and LGBTQIA+ in sports.
The last few years have witnessed the rise and prominence of the Black Lives Matter and anti-racism movements as well as social unrest and protests in response to police brutality. Mr. Smith said his own household has not been immune to the uncomfortable conversations that have occurred as a result.
“My kids did not grow up like I did,“ Mr. Smith said. “I had to stand at the plate, swing the bat, try to get to the third base and then, eventually hope to come home. My kids grew up on third base.“
But he said that when it comes to being pulled over by police, he has had to remind his eldest son, E.J., “that you still are a Black man.... Even if you tell them your name, they aren‘t going to recognize who you are. Be compliant. Don‘t be combative. Understand what your rights are, but just make it home. The goal is for you to just make it home.“
Mr. Smith said he supported civil rights activist and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the stand he took to kneeling during the National Anthem and, if given the opportunity, he would have knelt with him.
“He was a sending a message that there is a systemic problem that needs to be addressed,“ Mr. Smith said. “He wasn’t saying that all police are bad.... He was saying that there was a systemic issue and underlying issue that has been among the police force for many, many years.“
He said the problem lies with police training and how officers are taught to respond to communities of color, but some have tried to “deflect from the real issue. People don’t want to address the issue that they need to address because it forces them to look themselves in the mirror. They may have to ask themselves the question, and if the answer is not right, they may not like what they see.“
Mr. Smith also reflected on more gender diversity on the sidelines in football now that there are eight women coaches in the NFL.
“What was once a male-dominated sport... [a male-dominated] arena is quickly shifting, and they are making adjustments and they are starting to try to become more inclusive,“ Mr. Smith said. “Women love watching football and there are a lot of women who know the game.“
He pointed to his own 17-year-old daughter as an example. She “loves the game as well,“ he said.
When asked by Dr. Smith if the NFL has been just as accepting of its openly LGBTQIA+ players, Mr. Smith said he thinks the league is making progress.
“I think the league is evolving and has evolved,“ Mr. Smith said. “The more people are comfortable with revealing who they are ... we can make adjustments.“
Dr. Smith also asked Mr. Smith what the dental workforce could do to diversify and recruit more dental students of color, particularly Black men. Mr. Smith said the recruitment efforts must start as early as high school and junior high.
“Back in my day, we used to have people come in from different types of professions and talk about their profession and students could ask questions,“ Mr. Smith said. ”Those people need to be seen in the classroom and have a Q&A just as much as an athlete.”
Knowing That You Belong
The panelists during the ADEA Chair of the Board Symposium, Missing at the Table: Exploring Administrative Pipeline Gaps, not only discussed broadly the barriers that remain for inclusion of underrepresented minorities and women in dental school and academic leadership—one of which are pipeline gaps—but also the barriers they have faced in their own careers.
Before the roundtable began, many shared examples of being overlooked for promotions even though they seemed to have the credentials, not always feeling welcomed or supported in academia or having to constantly prove themselves. To surmount these obstacles, they often had to advocate for themselves or even change schools or career paths.
Kim Perry, D.D.S., M.S.C.S., FACD, Associate Vice President of University Strategic Partnerships at A.T. Still University Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health, said that while serving in the U.S. Army Dental Corps, she learned early on to not let people undervalue what she brought to the table, “but also to know that I belonged at the table.“
“When people like us are missing at your table, it is a missed opportunity for everyone to grow," said Herminio Perez, D.M.D., M.B.A., Director of Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Dental Medicine.
Moving Up the Faculty Ladder: How to Navigate the Promotion Process
Moving up the faculty ladder in dental education—whether it is from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor or being promoted to Dean or securing tenure—can require a tremendous amount of research, hard work, planning and understanding of the intricacies of the promotion process, which can vary from dental school to dental school.
During two educational sessions on Sunday, March 14, Pathway to Promotion for Early Career Faculty and The Path to Upper Administration, a Tale of Two Deans, panelists shared their real-life experiences of how they navigated this complex process in their careers and offered advice to help others along the way.
Establishing a Roadmap
During her opening remarks as moderator of Pathway to Promotion for Early Career Faculty and The Path to Upper Administration, Thaisa Bordin, D.D.S., Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, admitted that “navigating and understanding the promotion process can be confusing.” But she emphasized that experienced mentors could help educators seeking promotions by offering guidance on how to develop a roadmap and cultivate the necessary resources to be successful.
Panelist Carroll Trotman, B.D.S., M.A., M.S., Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor and Chair in the Department of Orthodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, also said mentor relationships are important. “It should be positive and beneficial for both the mentee and mentor,” Dr. Trotman said.
She said early career faculty seeking promotions should make sure they are in “a collegial and positive work environment” that “fosters your creativity,” have a clear understanding of promotion requirements and make sure their skills “are valued and properly utilized. Your values should sync with those of the department and school.”
Dr. Trotman also said early career faculty should have “flexibility in the creation in academic paths. This year alone, we need to be flexible and prepared for change.”
Sophia Saeed, D.M.D., Associate Dean for Patient Care and Professor in the Department of General Practice and Dental Public Health at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, said she had a unique perspective on the promotion process as a clinical educator rather than an academic educator or researcher. For clinical educators, the academic education requirements were probably “more than what you may have anticipated,” she said.
She continued, “as a clinical educator, you may think scholarship isn’t important. I would advise you not to take that mentality. If you ever want to move to another school, that school could have different requirements as to what qualifies you as an Assistant Professor or Associate Professor.” She said its always good to have a mix in your dossier and it is important not to lose your clinical skillsets as you move up the ranks, especially into administrative positions. "Keep your skills sharp,” Dr. Saeed said.
When it comes to compiling dossiers, the panelists had very practical advice.
“This year, I’ve seen many faculty members scrambling to try to pull all the pieces together, in a hectic haste for what they need,” said Lynn Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness and Professor of Dentistry in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. “Start collecting things right away and then over time, you’ll be able to write. When you do write your dossier, this is your time to shine,” Dr. Johnson said. “Please, don’t be shy. This is when you promote yourself.”
“It generally takes five to seven years to get to that promotion stage,” Dr. Trotman said. “I say give enough time to prepare that dossier. You at least need a year. It’s meant to be reflective.”
Cultivating Mentors and Broadening Focus
The importance of mentors was emphasized again during the educational session The Path to Upper Administration, a Tale of Two Deans, moderated by Cherae Farmer-Dixon, D.D.S., M.S.P.H., Dean at the Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. The session panelists are trailblazers at their respective institutions—Kenneth B. Chance, D.D.S., Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine is the school’s first African American dean and Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, D.D.S., Ph.D., FDS, RCDS(Ed), Dean of the Indiana University School of Dentistry, is the first woman dean at her school. Both said there were many mentors who helped them along the way.
“You can build multiple mentors in different times and points of your career,” Dr. Murdoch-Kinch said. She noted that these mentors are not “always going to be ahead of you.” Some could be on the same level professionally but have different skills than you have, or they could be younger than you, she said.
She said a great way to meet mentors is through dental organizations. “If I hadn’t joined organized dentistry, my career wouldn’t be where it is today,” Dr. Murdoch-Kinch said.
Dr. Chance said faculty members shouldn’t wait until their careers begin to get a mentor. “You need to find them as soon as you can,” he said. “You need them for recommendations.” He encouraged faculty members to “build your own pit crew” and that pit crew should have at least 100 years of cumulative professional knowledge, he said. And don’t forget to reach out for help.
“If you have an issue, go to someone. Over time, you build this relationship and it’s essential in your growth,” Dr. Chance said.
While in your early career as a faculty member, your focus may be on building up your credentials and raising your profile professionally, but when you get into upper administration, your focus must broaden to a much bigger picture, the panelists insisted.
“We need to think more of ‘we’ than ‘me’,” Dr. Chance said. “As faculty, we’re focused more on our research time. As a dean, it’s ‘What is my school doing?’”
“If you want to move up, as you learn new skills, competency and broaden your knowledge, you open yourself up,” Dr. Murdoch-Kinch said. “Be willing to take on more and focus on the school and advance initiatives at the school.”
Using Data to Guide More Thoughtful
Submissions to the Journal of Dental Education
The Journal of Dental Education (JDE) receives over 500 manuscript submissions annually, but last year, only 22% of those submissions were ultimately published. What factors should potential authors take into consideration to increase their chances of getting their manuscripts reviewed and, hopefully, accepted for publication?
Michael Reddy, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., JDE Editor, and Romesh Nalliah, B.D.S., M.H.C.M., JDE Associate Editor, provided potential authors with insights into the types of manuscripts, topics, and study designs that historically have had the greatest publication success in the JDE. They gave attendees a glimpse “behind the scenes” of the journal’s publication and editorial processes. They provided historical information on publication rates for the various manuscript types (e.g., original research articles, systematic review articles, Advancing Through Innovation articles), a global breakdown of manuscript submissions and acceptances, and acceptance rates and trends by manuscript category (e.g., Allied Dental Education, Predoctoral Dental Education).
This background information laid the groundwork for a deeper dive into the JDE’s manuscript data. Dr. Nalliah analyzed JDE manuscript titles and abstracts going back to 2010. He provided a list of the most frequently used key words and topics and, more interestingly, how often these key words appeared in accepted manuscripts and in rejected manuscripts.
Dr. Nalliah went on to discuss the types of research studies and which study designs were more likely to be accepted. For example, over the past 10 years, only 13.7% of studies that used a questionnaire to collect data were accepted for publication. Of the manuscripts that used surveys, 36% were accepted. In the same time period, 39.2% of longitudinal studies were accepted, and 35.3% of randomized control studies were accepted. The bottom line? Authors should submit manuscripts with outcome data related to testing a novel health care education hypothesis.
Following Dr. Nalliah’s data deep dive, Dr. Reddy presented the JDE reviewer checklist to help early- to mid-career authors understand the factors JDE reviewers take into consideration when reviewing manuscripts. He encouraged potential authors to use this checklist to evaluate their own manuscripts (and ask their colleagues to use it to evaluate authors’ manuscripts) prior to submitting an article for consideration. This form is available on the JDE manuscript submission site in the Instructions & Forms menu at the top right of the screen. It can also be downloaded from this session in the online program planner on the 2021 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition virtual platform.
If you missed this session and would like to view it, you can access all ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition content for the next 60 days.
If you have follow-up questions about publishing in the JDE, please email the Editors at JDEeditor@adea.org or Sue Kimner, ADEA Director of Publishing, at KimnerS@adea.org.
Combatting Burnout and Building Resilience in Dental Education
Academic dentistry—it's not just a few hours in the classroom or the clinic each week. Faculty often have wide-ranging responsibilities in addition to their classroom duties. Add a pandemic to the mix and the dental professions are facing extraordinary challenges, leading to extraordinary stress and burnout. The shift to teledentistry, endless Zoom calls, a lack of PPE and new technologies add to this new kind of exhaustion.
Burnout syndrome is not new. It characterized by three things—overwhelming exhaustion, feeling of cynicism or detachment from the job and a sense of ineffectiveness or lack of accomplishment. It can manifest as combativeness, fatigue and questioning one’s purpose.
The need to comply in the quickly shifting COVID-19 landscape accelerated trends in burnout. One of the greatest contributors to burnout is loneliness, defined as “... the gap between the social connections you would like to have and those you feel you experience.” Social isolation, forced on the entire population throughout the pandemic, has a great impact on mental health. As people were asked to abandon personal and professional networks for the sake of public health, they were forced to get creative to avoid loneliness and remain connected to their world.
How do we bounce back? Resilience is defined as the capability to successfully adapt despite experiencing adversity, tragedy, trauma or significant threat. It takes a number of different forms, but it’s about growing and learning from experiences.
Stressors are all around and increase in number and pressure as one grows in their career. The importance of learning resilience and developing skills to combat burnout early on has taken on greater importance in these extraordinary times. The American Psychological Association recommends numerous ways to start building resilience. These recommendations include relying on your relationships (friends, family, trusted peers); building confidence; pursuing hobbies outside of work; and relying on self-care by maintaining a healthy diet, consistent sleep patterns and exercise routines.
Institutions are also accountable for building a culture of safety—both psychological and physical. Engaging the institution’s community via professional development, mentoring, establishing clarity around roles and responsibilities and creating opportunities for people to interact can take eliminate pressure and give people a sense of stability.
A collaborative approach among institution and faculty, staff, students and residents can only be beneficial. An institution that takes care of these groups encourages wellness among the ranks, allowing resilience to thrive. Driving change from within will help reduce burnout experienced by dental educators and help prevent future burnout by providing them with the tools to navigate stressful times.
Post-COVID Admissions: Meeting Students Where They Are
Admissions is always changing. There can be changes to the applicant pools, pushes for greater equity in education, shifts in socioeconomics or global pandemics—or all of the above. This past year, students and institutions have faced great challenges from COVID-19 and a racial reckoning, with impacts to everything from what the applications look like to long-term impacts of online coursework to struggles few could ever imagine.
Institutions are beginning the task of mapping out the profile of future applicants, considering how COVID-19 has shaped them in terms of education, experiences and social development. It is anticipated that starting three years from now, there will be a change in how schools evaluate applicants based on these experiences. These students will have spent the better part of a year learning from home, and not always from a place of equity.
In 2020, many undergraduate admissions went “test optional,” where standardized tests were optional. This means that the first standardized test a student takes is the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Standardized tests can be daunting for some students, and without prior experience, performance could be impacted. Also, there are implications for the dental school application itself—how will it be addressed in the application process?
Along with testing, coursework changed as well. Most schools moved to online coursework at both the graduate and undergraduate levels once the pandemic forced closures. Questions are now arising around academic performance in prerequisite classes like labs, as well as a consideration for how online coursework is noted in transcripts.
It remains to be seen how an online course affects work through undergraduate studies, and into dental school—especially if students are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have shortcomings in technology.
Shadowing, an important part of a student’s application, has taken on new dimension. Dental schools are forced to redefine it and reconsider what counts as shadowing. Does it count if it takes place in a virtual environment? What are students missing with a virtual-only experiency? Will these students be at a disadvantage in the longer term? Schools have the opportunity to decide what it looks like, but also be willing to accept that students had meaningful experiences in virtual scenarios.
Many students have been touched by issues of racial equity over the past year. This is a critical issue for admissions. The impact can be felt years down the line, and students may be reticent to talk about the post-traumatic stress syndrome they are experiencing as a result of what they have seen and witnessed in person and on the news, and via increased activism. Admissions departments will need to prepare to address these issues and be ready with answers and resources for these students to support them on their paths.
There are more questions than answers. Schools and admissions committees will need to change to meet the challenges that students have faced over the past two years as a result of COVID-19. While there will be challenges, these extraordinary times are providing admissions counselors with an opportunity to look at admissions in a new light as they evaluate this group of students.