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ADA customizes EBD workshop for LLU faculty

October 15, 2012

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

Loma Linda, Calif.—One size fits all may be fine for pajamas, but some things call for a tailored fit.

Customized learning: EBD Instructor Dr. Elliot Abt offers guidance to participants in Loma Linda University’s customized EBD workshop. 

Loma Linda University School of Dentistry got just such precision when the school tapped the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry to customize a two-day EBD workshop for its faculty in June.

“There has been long-standing interest in the ADA Center for EBD providing custom EBD educational programs not only to dental schools, but also to component and constituent dental societies as well as specialty organizations,” said Julie Frantsve-Hawley, Ph.D., senior director of the center. “The workshop was a pilot program for us, and with its overwhelming success we are now able to develop customized workshops for others.”

It all started at the 2011 ADA EBD Champions Conference, where Dr. Leif Bakland, Ronald E. Buell Professor of Endodontics at Loma Linda, was in attendance. Dr. Bakland found the Champions conference to be an inspiring revelation.

“I had expected it to be full of faculty members like myself,” he said. “But here were all of these private practitioners, and I’m thinking, 'Why are they taking time off? It’s costing them to do it, and they’re coming to participate in this conference.’ What dawned on me is that these were dentists who were interested in their patients and that the EBD conference was ultimately for the benefit of patients. That was kind of a light bulb that went off in my head.”

Based on Dr. Bakland’s positive Champions experience, the Loma Linda dental school later sought a robust and comprehensive EBD session suited to its faculty, especially in light of the school’s upcoming site visit from the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

EBD primer: Faculty participants get hands-on during Loma Linda University’s customized EBD workshop. 
“When I got back to Loma Linda, I told them that if we could enhance our EBD concept here at the school, both with regard to our faculty and students, that would probably play a major role in us preparing and teaching student critical thinking,” Dr. Bakland said. “The standards that CODA uses to evaluate schools and programs are constantly refined and changed. A new area of the standards is to teach dental students and train them in critical thinking with respect to diagnoses and treatment planning and so on, and that is something that is clearly related to EBD. That’s what triggered my thinking about this.”

Dr. Charles Goodacre, dean of the dental school, wanted a workshop that engaged his faculty with robust examples. He found that the ADA’s customized workshop fit the bill.

“There were a lot of examples,” he said. “I thought they did a very nice job of doing what we asked them to do and not spend as much time on the theory as on actual real examples, particularly for skeptical faculty members. That’s what they need more than the theory of it.”

The entire Loma Linda School of Dentistry faculty attended the first day of the workshop and then an intensive session was held on day two with a smaller group of faculty.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about it,” Dr. Goodacre said. “There were different faculty that have started a little study club where they can get together a small number of them to look over a particular topic and find out what evidence is going on. That’s a positive step. And I’ve seen some faculty sending articles back and forth to each other. That’s a start.”

For more information on customizing EBD workshops for your institution, contact Erica Vassilos, manager, ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, at Ext. 2523 or email