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Health Disparities Roundtable Summary

June 28, 2013

As a federally supported component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) aims to improve oral, dental and craniofacial health through research, research training, and the dissemination of health information. For many years, oral health disparities has remained an important NIDCR focus, and the Institute strives toward supporting research, disseminating research results, and fostering career development and training that can ameliorate health differences that affect some of America’s most vulnerable populations.

NIDCR’s involvement in oral health disparities research has been a long-term, deliberate investment toward building a foundation of knowledge that has had real impact on clinical practice and public policy. NIDCR-led efforts have advanced the field of oral health disparities from descriptive studies to an exploration of a broader array of factors that inform conceptual models and clinical research. Moreover, interventions have begun to address factors within the context of these complex, multi-factorial frameworks and have simultaneously met rigorous standards for clinical, social science, and behavioral research.
 
The NIDCR investment has helped to build strong research teams — a true “community of scholars” — that comprise diverse disciplines and backgrounds conducting oral health disparities research. Importantly, these research communities have worked diligently to earn the trust, support, and active engagement of the communities with whom research is conducted.

Oral Health Disparities Research: State of the Science

Despite remarkable improvements in past decades in the oral health of the American population, not everyone in the nation has benefited equally. Oral, dental, and craniofacial conditions remain among the most common health problems for low-income, racial and ethnic minority, disadvantaged, disabled, and institutionalized individuals across the life span. Dental caries, periodontal disease, and oral and pharyngeal cancer are of particular concern.

The NIDCR commitment to oral health disparities is stated in the NIDCR 2009-2013 Strategic Plan:

Goal IV. Apply rigorous, multidisciplinary research approaches to eliminate disparities in oral, dental, and craniofacial health.

  • Identify the full range of factors that contribute to oral health inequality.
  • Support interventional, dissemination, and implementation research to eliminate oral health disparities.
  • Provide science-based information about oral health and disease to health care providers, patients and caregivers, policy makers, and the general public.
  • Monitor the oral health status of the nation through periodic epidemiologic and other sentinel surveys.

As NIDCR continues the development of its next 6-year strategic plan, the Institute remains committed to continuing its strong investment to address oral health disparities, as well as to developing appropriate structures, teams, and methods toward keeping up with the pace of the change of biomedicine and healthcare.

In June 2013, NIDCR convened a multi-disciplinary group representing the wide-ranging diversity of the Institute’s constituency (see Participants). Roundtable attendees included researchers in public health, epidemiology, health policy and health disparities; academic and community dentists; and social and behavioral scientists. This group, which represented individuals within and outside dental/oral health foci, was tasked with considering the state of affairs in oral health disparities research, broadly, as well as which directions NIDCR might take to align with the evolution of science/healthcare as well as to meet the oral health needs of the nation. Among the issues discussed at the roundtable were emerging interventional research strategies, multi-disciplinary/multi-level research, community engagement and partnerships, and training/career development. From this discussion, a range of issues surfaced, which are presented below in a thematic summary.

Discussion: Key Themes


I. Oral health is contextual, and research must consider a multi-level range of influences.

Individual health is dynamic, and it is influenced by a multitude of factors that are biological and non-biological. Population health, as a scientific discipline whose findings filter down to affect individual health, focuses on the set of factors — medical and non-medical — that contribute in various proportions to determine health. One example of a framework that interrogates oral health in this manner is the “Fisher-Owens” conceptual model.1 This construct incorporates a broad range of social, genetic, and environmental risk factors through the lens of susceptibility/resilience, and it operates across several levels of investigation. Conceptually, a substantial component of roundtable discussions centered on the aspects represented by this general framework.

Roundtable participants agreed widely that multi-level investigations offer the best opportunity to dynamically build the evidence base in oral health disparities. The ability to perform “elevator research” that traverses levels (focus on individuals or populations, as well as the variety of health determinants) conjoins the ability to seek mechanistic explanations for oral health disparities with the opportunity to test hypotheses in real-world settings. Ideally, multi-level research designs offer the fluidity of entry and exit at various levels, as well as the ability to move between levels. Despite the consensus view that multi-level research is valuable, all agreed that it is a challenging pursuit. Evaluating multi-level interventions presents additional difficulties given the limitations of randomized controlled trials — ethnographic approaches may offer unique advantages in that regard. In general, behavioral/motivational research approaches garner the opportunity to fine-tune conceptual findings that may encounter difficulty in being applied “on the ground.” In addition, logic models embraced by many health services-focused federal agencies for use of state-allocated resources may serve as possible tools to assist planning and implementation of multi-level research.

As implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unfolds, many opportunities invite the engagement and participation of research addressing oral and general health within the infrastructure of the nation’s “safety net” and other already organized programs. Because poor health behaviors cluster, the ACA context will provide opportunities for leveraging the involvement of physicians as well as for addressing relevant health issues, such as nutrition. The emergent crop of accountable care organizations (ACOs) that abandon fee-for-service payment models in favor of patient-centered care will help aggregate a diverse team of health providers, providing new opportunities for integration. There are also potential links to be explored between oral healthcare providers and community care teams operating through these new ACOs. Other opportunities include electronic records (perhaps adding oral health indices to the main record), medical homes (which provide additional opportunities for integrated oral research and care), and Medicaid expansion programs. State-to-state variation in Medicaid provisions and other care practices might provide an opportunity to rigorously evaluate different models; however, comparing state programs has historically been notoriously difficult.

II. Research on oral health disparities requires a broad range of research methods, each of which has distinct capabilities and strengths.

Research that is well-designed always answers a question. Biomedicine flourishes as those answers are woven iteratively into the fabric of the existing foundation of knowledge, advancing the translation of this knowledge into better health. The nature of the scientific problem at hand should drive the choice of method(s), and addressing the defined problem should be as flexible and adaptive a process as possible Ideally, research methods to investigate oral health disparities etiologies and solutions should be used in combinations, as appropriate, recognizing the limitations of each. For example, randomized controlled trials are best employed under conditions of clinical equipoise,2 in which uncertainty among treatment options prevails within an expert community. Qualitative research, comparative effectiveness research, community-based participatory research, and cohort analyses are among other approaches useful in varied scenarios. The notion of a “well-organized toolbox” is apt: not all tools need to be used all the time, but the correctly sized wrench should be readily available when it is needed.

It is useful to note that while public health issues in general, and oral public health issues specifically, often call for multidisciplinary research approaches, not all problems require this broad focus. Systems science approaches can help identify appropriate research strategies through boundary analyses and thus avoid the pitfalls of “trying to do too much at once.”

The distal end of the biomedical and behavioral research continuum is implementation and dissemination, often referred to as “T2 translation.”3 These efforts are complex, mainly because they require extensive collaboration among parties that do not often work together. Generalizing findings from pilot projects to community use can be fiendishly difficult; societal, cultural, and policy issues complicate T2 translation. However, viewing the process through a pragmatic lens is an increasingly popular and effective strategy. The concept of “cultural adaptations of evidence-based treatments” has been well established in the behavioral and social sciences literature,4 although the process by which this is done has not always been evidence-based. Further research may help shift intuitive cultural tailoring of interventions toward empirically driven actions. “Just-in-time” interventions that meet people “where they are and in the moment” can also provide valuable touch points in our modern, mobile society.

III. Positivity and resilience may serve as a useful lens for oral health disparities research.

Definitions that characterize research fields and/or approaches can unintentionally restrict progress if the definitions are too rigid, or if they are interpreted in variable ways by the research community. Two terms that are often conflated are disparity and inequity. Disparities primarily focus on differences in health status/outcomes based on population differences, but the concept of equity forces us to examine the underlying social context and can make a value judgment about fairness or justice.

Confusion in terminology has also at times created an oversimplification of health disparities research on the study of minority populations, rather than on the contextual factors in which vulnerable populations live, work, and play. It can be important to consider the impact of both of these issues on the health of communities.

An ultimate goal of multi-disciplinary research is to “de-silo” investigations. Everyday people do not view their own health and well-being through the lens of one specialty or disease. A range of health determinants — at the individual or societal level — define common risk factors that combine in various ways, and often travel together, to create “health.” Quality of life is hugely important as well, and it is shaped differently for every individual.

A focus on resilience may offer opportunities to catalyze ongoing innovation in resolving health disparities. Rather than “fixing a problem,” focusing on what works — in broad strokes, the notion of positive deviance5 — has been embraced by the public health community for some time and may have important implications for advancing oral health. Focusing on positive deviance invites innovation since, by nature, this approach relies on discarding preconceived notions.

Asset mapping is a logical extension of positive deviance. As noted previously, community-based care is often accessed through structures that provide a range of health care services. Because individuals and families interact with several different types of providers and community services, each one represents an opportunity to deliver oral health education, prevention, and/or treatment. Other non-health means of reaching vulnerable populations include the educational and justice systems. Inventive interventions research might seize the opportunity to reduce disparities by testing methods of health services delivery through a wide range of exposures. Individuals may also serve as innovative vehicles for experimenting with health services delivery. Elders, for example, are often eager to “pass on” wisdom and care to younger members of a community. In keeping with the theme of positivity, one roundtable participant suggested re-framing the “burden” of America’s aging population as a “legacy opportunity.”

Although not the focus of NIH efforts, public health matters require attention to issues of justice, and these matters must be factored into defining multi-sector solutions (of which NIH plays an indirect, yet collaborative role). Food justice, for example, encompasses food availability, food access, and food use: all of which contribute to the presentation of risk or preventive factors that affect oral health and chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Community programs can help to address food justice by defining behavioral “defaults.” As one example, Head Start programs for children provide healthful meals and snacks to participating children along with a toothbrush and toothpaste for daily brushing, setting in motion the expectation that routine oral hygiene is a natural accompaniment to mealtime. Multilevel research studies are underway to assess enhancements to these programs such as increasing health literacy of parents about issues including diet; health promotion to children, including healthful snacks; and integration of preventive oral health care in pediatrician’s offices.

Food justice, and other issues linked to access and equity, must be linked to behavior. Roundtable participants endorsed the value of behavioral research to better understand psychological components such as habit formation and motivation. Lab-based investigations, even those employing animal models, can effectively interrogate individual and group motivation. In turn, creative approaches can devise ways to test pre-clinical findings in people, as well as to generalize and adapt findings to real-world settings. 

IV. Team science is the appropriate vehicle to conduct multi-disciplinary and multi-level oral health disparities research.

The most important drivers of effective team science are: i) defining and maintaining focus on a common, shared research goal, and ii) valuing the team over any one individual. Flowing logically from this notion is that team constituency is best defined by the nature of the scientific question under study. While today’s youth, including junior researchers, have “grown up” working in teams, working collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary environment can be challenging for an “expert” at the top of his or her game. Thus, promoting effective team science requires some effort, such as facilitating face-to-face interactions, respecting everyone on the team, and helping to develop good communication practices. While NIDCR/NIH cannot force people to work together, the Institute can serve a matchmaking role by helping to recruit people with common interests and goals toward addressing mission-centric research.

To date, NIDCR has been working hard to open doors toward the development of teams of mixed investigators, but aside from the Institute’s oral health disparities centers program (see below), it has been mostly “one investigator at a time.” The Institute welcomes ideas that would make this matchmaking process more systematic toward growing its community of scholars in oral health disparities research.

Self-assembly of teams is best driven by a research question, and ideally, teams are emergent and dynamic. NIDCR seeks to grow its research base by funding investigators outside traditional dentistry, and thus opportunities are many for researchers in a range of disciplines to enter the fold of oral health disparities research. By a similar token, NIDCR welcomes integrated research approaches that address common risk factors and overlapping conditions, conducted by teams that represent oral health, general health, basic science, behavioral and social sciences research, among other fields. However, it should be noted that funding team science poses practical issues that make the effort laborious and challenging to manage — despite the demonstrated value of collaborative teams in biomedical and behavioral research. Among the questions: 

  • Who decides who’s on a team, and if and when a member should be off a team? 
  • Who leads a team, and who gets “credit” toward academic advancement? 
  • How do you structure a team to be fluid, to adapt to changing needs of the research being addressed?

Tapping into existing infrastructures enables layering oral health research questions onto other health questions, and importantly, it provides a ready vehicle for conducting multi-disciplinary research that addresses the common risk factors that underlie oral diseases and other chronic health conditions that may or may not have manifestations in the mouth (obesity, mental illness, substance abuse, and injury/trauma are a few examples). Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) provide comprehensive primary care and preventive care in communities nationwide. These centers are the heart of most community-based services for oral, general, and mental health/substance abuse to children, adults, and elders, regardless of their ability to pay. As such, community members who frequent FQHCs may be amenable to engaging in oral health research.

NIDCR Centers

For nearly 15 years, NIDCR has supported multi-disciplinary centers focused on oral health disparities, and these centers have proven to be a productive and valuable resource for multi-disciplinary teams to investigate oral health disparities research problems in innovative ways. Beginning with the establishment of regional centers in the 1990s to the most recent funding of centers in 2008, the NIDCR-funded centers in oral health disparities have provided a team-science atmosphere toward advancing knowledge and its implementation. These funding structures have catalyzed multi-disciplinary teams by offering developmental and pilot project resources within the centers to attract and retain researchers from other disciplines. Notably, many researchers working in the context of the NIDCR center system are from outside the realm of dentistry and include psychologists, anthropologists, pediatricians, social workers, nutritionists, lay health workers, epidemiologists, basic scientists, and health economists. The centers have also provided opportunities for leadership, attracting trainees from other disciplines and pairing them with strong non-dental mentors. As such, the successful NIDCR centers program in oral disparities research has forged links between research and training, helping to build and strengthen the current diverse community of scholars engaged in oral health disparities research. Cooperative-agreement funding approaches have facilitated NIDCR’s ability to encourage team science in its centers, as well as to diagnose and correct problems early, when possible. Center research has been an important component of the NIDCR oral health disparities research portfolio, and it is complemented by many other efforts and strategies undertaken by NIDCR-funded grantees and teams.

CTSAs

The NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program,6 launched in 2006, aims to accelerate translation of laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, to engage communities in clinical research efforts, and to train a new generation of clinical and translational researchers. As such, this network is a ready vehicle for oral health researchers within and outside dentistry. Academic medical centers, where CTSAs are housed, have many resources that can augment the training of dental professionals and facilitate their interactions with researchers from other disciplines. Such efforts can help dental professionals to interact more broadly with researchers in medical fields as well as share skills and knowledge with allied health professionals.

NIDCR Practice-Based Research Network

Ideally, teams involved in oral health disparities research should involve communities of non-scientists. The existing NIDCR-supported Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) is a useful vehicle for reaching patients and connecting dentists to research. To date, this national assembly of research teams, stratified into regional groupings of dental practitioners and academic (mostly clinical) researchers, has defined problems encountered in clinical practice, then advanced those problems for further potential research study. In general, the PBRN approach has offered a nimble vehicle for assembling recurrent clinical observations, then strengthening the evidence base. The PBRN may not, however, be the best vehicle for conducting oral health disparities research, if the locus of care is private practice and not a community clinic where patients receive a range of health services.

Community-Based Participatory Research

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) can also be a very effective strategy to address questions that center on health disparities, and implementation of findings can occur more rapidly with community support. “Community” can be defined geographically or via some other attribute, such as health state, age, or other parameter. CBPR offers “another way of knowing” as well as a vehicle for identifying and understanding at a deeper level the community of interest for a given research project.

Despite its promise, though, CBPR is challenging and can be very time-consuming (seed or planning grants can buy time for researchers to build relationships before issuing a more substantial grant to actually engage in the research). CBPR does not involve researchers “using a community,” but rather, in this approach, researchers engage and work side-by-side with community members in a truly collaborative, respectful, and culturally appropriate way. This feature endows CBPR approaches with the ability to greatly advance recruitment efforts: “It matters who asks someone to participate in a research study,” one roundtable participant noted.

There is some discrepancy about what defines CBPR, but roundtable participants generally agreed that authentic CBPR involves research with a community as opposed to in a community — with the additional mention that it should involve shared finances, shared power, and shared decision-making. Importantly, CBPR that is inclusive with community effort need not guarantee health benefit, as specific outcomes are never clear from the outset of research. One example of a successful CBPR effort7 is “Shape Up Somerville,” a multi-sectoral, obesity-focused project that lived well beyond its funding phase and is now fully integrated within the original study community in Massachusetts.8

Public Health Focus for Training

There was general agreement among the group that there is a great need to grow the field of oral health disparities research, but that it would not be simple. Confounding issues include lack of a critical mass of potential trainees, exacerbated by student debt, and the misconception that dental public health is synonymous with “providing services to the poor.” In addition to ongoing recruitment efforts at dental schools, other successful approaches will likely rely on re-directing academicians and other health professionals from other fields to oral health. Since many schools of public health are home to a diverse set of research disciplines, roundtable participants agreed that training in basic public health sciences and particularly dental public health is a natural home for oral health disparities research. As with training for health-services research, oral health disparities research training works best with co-mentoring activities that provide practice/clinic/community-based exposures and science-based mentoring from different sources. Other tools that may help grow the workforce in this important area include small, mid-career curricula to help individual researchers “change course,” grant supplements offered to researchers outside the traditional NIDCR constituency, and trans-NIH curriculum programs (akin to the Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs)).9

Conclusions

Oral health, as with all health, exists within a dynamic system. Influences are far and wide, ranging from individual communities to state-level infrastructures to national-level organizations and agencies with a vested interest in oral health. As evidence of this multi-level landscape, various frameworks already chart the course of activities in oral health (and its disparities). Some examples include the trans-NIH strategic plan for health disparities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services health disparities strategic plan, the Affordable Care Act, Healthy People 2020, and many other efforts stemming from the private sector. NIDCR collaborates as much as is possible and reasonable with other federal agencies and stakeholder groups.

Toward the Institute’s future efforts in addressing oral health disparities, it is clear that flexibility is paramount. Many approaches — all driven by common, well-defined goals — will be necessary to achieve continued success and research should always remain the central focus.
 
Focusing on positivity and resilience, instead of more traditional “deficit models,” is likely to usher innovation. However, innovative experiments will and should fail, and it is important that the oral health research community learn from missteps as well as successes. Moreover, most critical is that research methods are used in combinations, in order to bolster findings with real-world relevance. 

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References

1Fisher-Owens SA, Gansky SA, Platt LJ, et al. Influences on children's oral health: a conceptual model. Pediatrics. 2007;120:e510-20.

2Freedman, B. Equipoise and the ethics of clinical research'. The New England Journal of Medicine 1987;317:141-145.

3http://obssr.od.nih.gov/scientific_areas/translation/ 

4Smith TB, Rodríguez MD, Bernal G. Culture. J Clin Psychol. 2011;67:166-75. 

5
observation that in any community, there are people whose uncommon but successful behaviors or strategies enable them to find better solutions to a problem than their peers, despite facing similar challenges and having no extra resources or knowledge than their peers (Wishik SM, Van der Vynckt S. The use of nutritional “positive deviants” to identify approaches for modification of dietary practices. Am J Public Health. 1976;66:38-42.

6https://www.ctsacentral.org/

7Funded by CDC, http://www.nutrition.tufts.edu/index.php?q=research/shapeup-somerville 

8http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/health/sus



Participants

 

Martha J. Somerman, DDS, PhD
Director
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Bethesda, MD 20892
martha.somerman@nih.gov

Isabel Garcia, DDS, MPH
Deputy Director
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Bethesda, MD 20892
GarciaI@od31.nidr.nih.gov

Robert J. Berendt
NIDCR Strategic Planning Advisor
Robert J. Berendt Associates
Organizational Planning and Management Analysis
Washington, DC 20008
rberendt@sprintmail.com

Hector Balcazar, PhD
Regional Dean and Professor
Division of Health Promotion and
Division of Sciences
University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, TX 79902
Hector.g.balcazar@uth.tmc.edu

Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Health Sciences
Graduate Program in Public Health
Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, NY 10468
Luisa.borrell@lehman.cuny.edu


Peter Damiano, DDS, MPH
Professor
Department of Preventive and
Community Dentistry
Director, UI Public Policy Center
University of Iowa college of Dentistry
Iowa City, IA 52242
peter-damiano@uiowa.edu

Allison G. Harvey, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Director, The Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic
Director, Clinical Science Program and Psychology Clinic
Psychology Department
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1650
aharvey@berkeley.edu

Aviva Must, PhD
Professor and Chair
Dept. of Public Health & Community Medicine
Dean, Public Health & Professional Degree Programs
Tufts University School of Medicine
Boston, MA 02111
Aviva.must@tufts.edu

Mary E Northridge, PhD, MPH
Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Public Health
Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion
NYU College of Dentistry
New York, NY 10003-1402
men6@nyu.edu

Sara A. Quandt, PhD
Professor
Department of Epidemiology and Prevention
Division of Public Health Sciences
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1063
squandt@wakehealth.edu

Dionne Richardson, DDS, MPH
State Dental Director
Mississippi State Department of Health
Office of Oral Health
Jackson, MS 39215
dionne.richardson@msdh.state.ms.us

R. Gary Rozier, DDS, MPH
Professor of Health Policy and Management
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7411
gary_rozier@unc.edu

Bonnie J. Spring, PhD
Professor in Preventive Medicine,
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, IL 60611
bspring@northwestern.edu

Richard B. Warnecke, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology,
Public Administration and Sociology
Institute for Health Research and Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL 60608
Warnecke@uic.edu 

AGENDA


8:30 AM Welcome and overview: Purpose and intent of the roundtable
Dr. Martha Somerman, Director, NIDCR

8:45 AM Background: NIDCR’s Investment and Approach to Addressing Oral Health Disparities
Dr. Isabel Garcia, Deputy Director, NIDCR

9:00 AM Discussion of Roundtable Format and Approach
Robert Berendt, NIDCR Strategic Planning Advisor 

  • Group introductions 
  • General questions

9:15 AM Topic I: Emerging Interventional Research Strategies and Their Potential
(Opening Comments by Dr. Richard Warnecke) 

  • Are there innovative approaches to interventional research worthy of expanded support? (e.g. mixed methods, lab-based basic mechanistic studies, adaptive design, multi-level approaches, etc.)
  • How do we increase the efficiency of these approaches to accelerate research progress?
  • How can NIDCR encourage development and use of conceptual frameworks to guide each piece of the planned intervention?
  • Open discussion among the group
  • General summary and conclusions

10:30 AM Break

10:45 AM Topic II: Continued Support for Multi-Disciplinary and Multi-Level Teams and Approaches: Expectations and Advances
(Opening Comments by Drs. Sara Quandt and Bonnie Spring)
 

  • What impact have multi-disciplinary approaches had on the development of research related to oral health disparities? What impact have multi-disciplinary approaches had on research outcomes? For example, have they enhanced effectiveness and/or implementation?
  • What innovative and/or noteworthy advancements are possible through multi-disciplinary, multi-level frameworks?
  • How can NIDCR foster the development and stability of multi-disciplinary teams
  • Open discussion among the group
  • General summary and conclusions

12:00 PM Lunch

1:00 PM Topic III: New Strategies to Advance Community Engagement and Partnerships
(Opening Comments by Drs. Hector Balcazar and Aviva Must)

  • How can NIDCR support efforts to create partnerships with other health sectors? With community entities outside of the health care sector?
  • What might result from enhancing engagement with communities and creating partnerships with additional sectors? For example, how would those partnerships help to improve clinical outcomes, inform policy, and stimulate individual and community action?
  • Are there steps NIDCR should take to strengthen and sustain its engagement with communities upon completion of research projects? Is this our role, NIH’s role, or the investigator’s/institution’s role?
  • Open discussion among the group
  • General summary and conclusions

2:15 PM Break

2:30 PM Topic IV: Training and Career Development: Future Goals and Choices
(Opening Comments by Dr. Peter Damiano

  • Brief perspective on past and current priorities and approaches related to training and career development
  • Should these priorities change going forward? What approaches might be used?
  • Who are the oral health disparities researchers of the future?
  • Is there a need to develop new programs to attract and train these individuals? If so, what would such programs look like?
  • How should NIDCR enhance its efforts to recruit and retain health disparities researchers from ethnic or racial minority groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral science? From diverse disciplines?
  • Open discussion among the group
  • General summary and conclusions

3:30 PM Summary, General Conclusions, and Wrap-Up 

  • Brief overview of key points raised
  • Closing comments and questions from the group
  • Next steps in strategic planning

4:00 PM Adjourn


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This page last updated: February 26, 2014