The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) marks its centennial this year, a milestone that represents 100 years of advancing dental education and signals a renewed commitment to leading and supporting the health professions community in preparing future-ready oral health professionals.
ADEA president and CEO Karen P. West, D.M.D., M.P.H., described the centennial as a bridge moment for the association, noting that it honors a rich legacy of achievement while also serving as a springboard to further innovation and excellence in oral health education.
“We are standing on the shoulders of giants as we mark ADEA’s 100th year, reveling in a moment made possible by visionaries who saw the crucial role dental education plays in supporting both oral health and overall well-being,” Dr. West said. “Because of them, and the extraordinary contributions of our members, ADEA is well-positioned to serve as The Voice of Dental Education for another 100 years and beyond.”
ADEA was founded in 1923 as the American Association of Dental Schools, changing its name in 2000 to reflect and embrace the many facets of dental education. Early in its history, ADEA led the way to ensure that dental education was recognized as a university-based scholarly endeavor. Today, ADEA is the sole national organization representing dental education, which includes hundreds of allied and advanced dental education programs as well as all accredited dental schools in the United States and Canada. A fierce advocate of improving the public’s oral health, ADEA is a champion of intraprofessional education to foster a team-based approach to treat oral diseases.
ADEA’s portfolio of work covers considerable ground, including advocacy on Capitol Hill on behalf of the dental education community; surveys and research that shed light on the changing demographics of dental education; publications, such as the peer-reviewed Journal of Dental Education that highlight innovation and best practices; expert guidance and toolkits to advance access, diversity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB); a raft of professional development and leadership programs; and robust outreach to promote the oral health professions to prospective dental and allied dental students.
Additionally, ADEA’s four centralized application services provide applicants and dental schools and programs a straight-forward and convenient process to manage applications.
Recent initiatives include a climate assessment survey that collected baseline date on DEIB at U.S. and Canadian dental schools and allied dental education programs. That data will serve as a vital tool to guide new and enhanced DEIB strategic initiatives in dental education.
Additionally, the New Thinking for the New Century initiative provides a framework for how all stakeholders in dental education could tackle today’s most pressing challenges.
Spearheaded by Chair of the ADEA Board of Directors Nader Nadershahi, D.D.S., M.B.A., Ed.D., the initiative is initially focused on developing and showcasing strategies for faculty and staff recruitment; leadership development and succession planning; and preparing student for the future of collaborative practice.
“These two initiatives and others embody ADEA’s unwavering commitment to shape the future of dental education by squarely addressing our biggest challenges and advancing a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all,” said Dr. West.
ADEA will mark its Centennial throughout 2023 in multiple ways, including the following:
- An #IamADEA social media campaign in which members are invited to share what ADEA means to them in short video and print testimonials.
- A series of interviews with leading ADEA figures that will be published and shared throughout the year.
- Guest editorials in each issue of the Journal of Dental Education throughout 2023 in which invited subject matter experts will share their insights on ADEA’s impact and the future of dental education.
- The 2023 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition, set for March 11-14 in Portland, OR, which will include a special Centennial reception, micro-exhibits highlighting ADEA’s history and two one-time Centennial awards to honor exemplary mid-career faculty in dental schools and allied dental programs.
Dr. West said she wants the Centennial to be marked by a sense of both gratitude and celebration.
“ADEA’s members are the soul and backbone of this organization They inspire us to reach higher every day,” Dr. West said. “This year is a celebration of their contributions and of those who came before us. Our Centennial is a significant milestone, but I know ADEA will be marking many more milestones in the years to come.”
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