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New CODA standards lift EBD value for educators

EBD Champions Conference coming in April as academic requirements roll out


Dr. Laura Romito

Dr. Leif Bakland
After his 2011 experience at the Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference, Dr. Partha Mukherji of Fort Worth, Texas, enthusiastically exclaimed to the ADA News: "It's kind of like being a Paul Revere. You've just got to go out there and say, 'EBD is coming!' "

And so it is.

"This is the sixth year that we are offering the EBD Champions Conference," said Julie Frantsve-Hawley, Ph.D., senior director, ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry. "This conference has been hugely successful for attendees from all backgrounds, educators and private practitioners alike, as well as folks from many other backgrounds. The diversity of experiences that everyone brings to the table is part of what makes this such a successful conference."

While the EBD Champions Conference—slated for April 25-27 at ADA Headquarters—seeks to prepare practicing dentists like Dr. Partha Mukherji to consider the best scientific evidence in the context of clinical decision-making, dentists in the academic arena could find the 2013 conference particularly significant.

That's because the Commission on Dental Accreditation has new standards related to EBD effective in 2013, adding another dimension to the EBD conference for academics.

"When you're in practice, you're not concerned about accreditation standards; you're concerned about practice efficiency and accuracy," said Dr. Laura Romito of the Indiana University School of Dentistry. "You're improving your practice and also improving your status among your patients. Do your patients think you're knowledgeable and up-to-date and things like that?"

But EBD can bolster the academic's frame of reference for teaching students critical thinking skills, suggested Dr. Romito, who is an associate professor and director of IU's Nicotine Program. She attended the EBD Champions Conference in 2012.

"Attending an EBD Champions Conference is very helpful for academicians to help colleagues and institutional administration with incorporating EBD horizontally and vertically across all years of the predoctoral curriculum, particularly those institutions aiming to meet the new 2013 CODA standards," Dr. Romito said. "It can also be helpful to specific faculty charged with teaching EBD-related courses, providing them with teaching resources."

Dr. Romito said the EBD Champions Conference is a good introduction to EBD, especially for those directly involved in the critical thinking aspect of dental school curricula.

"Any clinical dental faculty member could use the conference to learn more about EBD and how to incorporate it into their clinical instruction of students to help them apply critical thinking skills and evidence-based decisions in the care of their patients," she said. "I used the information obtained from the conference to include in the course I teach to first-year students on EBD. At that time, we introduce the EBD process to students and, subsequently, we have aimed to incorporate EBD through various points in the curriculum.

"Our goal is to have EBD become a standard component of the curriculum all four years. The EBD Conference also provides a foundation of knowledge for educators and academic institutions to meet the new CODA standards."

Dr. Leif Bakland, Ronald E. Buell Professor of Endodontics at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, advocated for EBD. After individually attending the 2011 EBD Champions Conference, he was instrumental in inviting the ADA EBD Center to customize and teach an EBD workshop in 2012 to faculty at the West Coast dental school.

"I would say everybody involved in the dental school should find a conference like this valuable and interesting and, of course, when the ADA group came out here last June everybody on our faculty was required to attend," he said. "We closed down our school for two days so that everybody could attend.  We have been working on the strategy for how we can best incorporate it into our situation."

Dr. Bakland said that Loma Linda is due for a CODA site visit within the next three to four years. "That was what triggered us to then proceed to invite the EBD Center at the ADA to come out to Loma Linda last June," he said. "It definitely had a positive influence. I don't know if all of the faculty members are glad, but I'm glad that we did it and we're progressing accordingly."

Since the workshop, Dr. Bakland, who describes himself as semi-retired, has been actively involved in the integration of EBD at Loma Linda, where they have big plans for EBD. "We're going to select a small group of people who will get hands-on experience using the ADA EBD website, and then these people at the end of the quarter will give a report to the faculty," he said. "That's No. 1. No. 2, we are setting up an evidence-based research and practice center. That will probably take six months to a year to be up and running."

The intention is that the Loma Linda center will pick up where the ADA's EBD workshop training left off, Dr. Bakland said. "Once that is running, then that will kind of take off from where the ADA program leads—to go beyond that, so that any faculty member or any member of our university here can work with the center to get the information regarding specific clinical problems," he said.

Dr. Romito said that getting to full participation is critical to EBD's success at an institution.

"Momentum is something," she said. "You have to have a critical mass. The Champions can be early adopters. They get things going and then you hopefully get more and more people excited and interested. Then you get a critical mass of faculty, and it kind of takes off and permeates."

Applications are now being accepted, and only 100 dentists will be admitted to learn the basics of EBD and how to promote its benefits as an EBD Champion. For more information and to apply, visit www.ada.org/ebdconference. Registration for chosen applicants is $150 for ADA members and $225 for nonmembers. Champions will earn 11-14 hours of continuing education credit.