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Image quality focus of research for 2017 Ahlstrom award recipient

September 11, 2017

By Michelle Manchir


Dr. Kurzweg
Dr. Brittany Kurzweg wants to make sure clinicians have the best diagnostic image available to them when treating patients.

Her innovative research on the subject scored her the 2017 Robert H. Ahlstrom New Investigator Award, which highlights the role dental informatics standards play in dentistry.

Dr. Kurzweg, a lieutenant in the Navy Dental Corps who graduated in July with a master's degree in oral and maxillofacial radiology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, won the award for her research titled "Cone Beam Computed Tomography Image Quality Testing Clinically Relevant Volume Orientation and Position."

Her research "exemplified exactly the award criteria of a very well designed and executed paper that incorporated standards-based research and standards development," said Sharon Stanford, director of standards for the ADA in a letter to Dr. Kurzweg.  "The goal of this award is to bring in a new generation of professionals to the important work of standards development and the ADA Council on Dental Practice agreed that your paper was the best example of this."

For her research, which is ongoing, Dr. Kurzweg tested whether objective measures of image quality vary as a function of test tool location, orientation and dose protocol. She measured whether there was an association between object and subjective image quality.

"This study directly contributes to the development of dental informatics standards because it addresses the relationship between objective and subjective image quality," Dr. Kurzweg said.

As the Ahlstrom award recipient, Dr. Kurzweg receives a $1,000 honorarium and a $500 travel award along with hotel accommodations to present her paper at the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics Meeting Oct. 16-18, preceding ADA 2017 – America's Dental Meeting in Atlanta.

"I was so honored to have been selected," she said. "Looking back at the others who have received it, I knew that the standards were high and it would be a very competitive award."

Dr. Kurzweg will have a small journey to make to get to Atlanta. At the end of September, she will leave the U.S. for Okinawa, Japan, where she will serve at least three years in the Navy Dental Corps as a clinician. There, she will also get to continue her work in research because of a collaboration between UNC, where she also serves as adjunct faculty, and the Navy, she said. Dr. Kurzweg, a 2011 University of Florida College of Dentistry graduate, anticipates doing more work on her project that earned the Ahlstrom award, and also exploring other topics.

Perhaps understating her accomplishments and efforts, Dr. Kurzweg noted, "I like to have a variety of projects going on."