An article in the Journal of Dental Research found nearly 10 per cent of faculty positions in dental schools are vacant. It was based on U-S data, but the story is the same in this country. Compounding the problem is the fact that half of those now teaching dentistry don’t qualify to become tenured professors because they don’t have the necessary research training. There just aren’t enough dental clinician-scientists to fill the need.
So the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and partners have invested $800,000 to try to boost dental research, prompting the formation of the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research. One of its first initiatives is to hold a two-day national student workshop at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry starting Monday, June 10 in Dental Sciences Building room 1002. Each of Canada’s ten dental schools is sending at least four graduate students and one faculty member to the workshop, to discuss the problem and find ways to encourage more dental students to look at research and academics.
“When students graduate with their Degree in Dental Surgery, they are often faced with large student loans. Plus they may want to get married or buy a house, so it’s a hard choice. Do you want to make $35,000 as a post-doctoral trainee, or $200,000 as a dentist,” explains Dr. Walter Siqueira, DDS, PhD, an Assistant Professor at Schulich Dentistry and Biochemistry, and workshop lead. “I’m a dentist, and a PhD and I really love being an academic. We have to promote the benefits of this career path.”
The topics will cover the opportunities for clinician-scientists, work-life balance, tips on getting published in high-caliber journals, funding support for junior faculty positions, and how to create a student research group. There will also be scientific poster presentations, and group discussions on topics selected by the student-participants. The sessions will also be live-streamed to the internet.
Dr. Siqueira says on the faculty side, it’s an opportunity to showcase the research resources available here at Western, and to discuss research collaborations. “This is a good first step in bringing all the dental schools together, to really start working together.”
Media contact: Kathy Wallis, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, 519-661-2111 ext. 81136, firstname.lastname@example.org