Dental School receives $4.5 million for five-state PBRN

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thomas W. Oates, D.M.D., Ph.D., assistant dean for clinical research in the Dental School, will lead the Southwest Region of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.clear graphic
Thomas W. Oates, D.M.D., Ph.D., assistant dean for clinical research in the Dental School, will lead the Southwest Region of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. 

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Contact: Will Sansom, 210-567-2579

Story written by Natalie Gutierrez

SAN ANTONIO (July 11, 2012) — The Dental School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio was awarded a seven-year, $4.5 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) to lead the Southwest Region of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN).

The grant will be used to develop a network of dental practitioners and dental hygienists across five states, including Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Kansas interested in collaborating on research.

Thomas W. Oates, D.M.D., Ph.D., is director of the NDPBRN Southwest Region. He serves as assistant dean for clinical research in the Health Science Center Dental School and is a professor and vice chair in the Department of Periodontics.

Advancing dental research and patient care
“This network seeks to strengthen the relationship between research and the oral health needs of the community and to build research studies targeting those needs. It allows both dentists and patients to be involved in and benefit from the advancement of dental research and care,” Dr. Oates said.

Establishing best practices
“When we can share solid evidence with our counterparts across the country regarding best practices and therapies, we can make better decisions for patients regarding common issues affecting oral health, including diabetes, smoking, access to and options for care, nutritional concerns and chewing ability, as well managing tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, especially for the people of this region,” Dr. Oates said. “We’ll also look to partner with state dental and dental hygiene associations, dental schools and dental educators.”

Regional and national input
The grant will build on the already established South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN), a local practice-based dental research network headquartered at the Health Science Center Dental School. Sixty dental practitioners from throughout South Texas already participate in the STOHN network and will be foundational in the development of the Southwest Region of the NDPBRN.

“The NDPBRN provides dentists and dental researchers in the community with a way to ask questions of their colleagues and to get answers to those questions that are backed by proven, evidence-based practice and research,” Dr. Oates said. “This NDPBRN network becomes powerful by being integrated at the national level, but offers very unique local and regional access.”

The Health Science Center’s Dental School in San Antonio was one of only six institutions nationwide selected as a regional leader for the grant that totaled $66.8 million from the NIDCR and formed the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN). The others regional leaders are in Rochester N.Y., Gainesville, Fla., Birmingham, Ala., Minneapolis, Minn., and Portland, Ore.

Ties to Laredo
Rahma Mungia, B.D.S., MS.c., co-director of the STOHN and assistant professor in the Department of Developmental Dentistry, is deputy director for the NDPBRN Southwest Region, and Claudia Cavazos, D.D.S., an alumna of the Dental School and dental director of Gateway Community Health Center, one of the Dental School’s first clinical partners in Laredo, is an NDPBRN Southwest Region executive committee member.

How to participate in the network
Dentists and dental hygienists interested in participating in the network should visit www.ndpbrn-research.org/enrollment to enroll. Patients interested in enrolling in any of the studies should call Stephanie Reyes at 210-562-5654.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $231 million in fiscal year 2011. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.



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