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Become a 'lifelong learner' at evidence-based dentistry workshop

Hands-on session offers CE, tracks for both clinicians and educators

January 16, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

A dentist for 46 years in New York City, Dr. Gregory Belok said he was drawn to learning more about the principles of evidence-based dentistry when he realized that keeping up with the latest scientific ideas in his field would take more work than "reading a few trusted journals."

Recognizing the vast amount of dental-related research available at the fingertips of plugged-in dentists, Dr. Belok said he attended a workshop in 2017 hosted by the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry that gave him an overview of how to effectively sift through the science and use the best of it in patient care.

In May, dental professionals have another chance to learn to be discerning consumers of scientific information at a two-pronged workshop at the ADA Headquarters in Chicago.

Photo of Dr. Belok in clinic
In for EBD: Dr. Gregory Belok, photographed here in his New York City dental office, attended the ADA Intensive Evidence-Based Workshop in 2017, and said he considers principles discussed there when reading scientific journals. Photo by Tsuyako Takahashi
Dentistry for the Modern Age: A Hands-On Workshop, scheduled for May 16-19, offers a track for clinicians, who will learn to quickly search for reliable and unbiased evidence to inform clinical decisions and apply it to patient care. It also offers a track for educators, who will learn the building blocks for an EBD curriculum and how to best teach others to integrate EBD into practice.

The workshop, for which registration is open at ADA.org/modern, offers 21 continuing education credits. It is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Colgate.

For Dr. Belok, a general dentist since 1971, attending the ADA Intensive Evidence-Based Dentistry Workshop in 2017 provided a needed review of the biostatistics courses he took in school years ago, he said. He said it was also useful for learning methods for sorting, analyzing and evaluating systematic reviews, clinical trials and other scientific articles.

"I cannot consider myself an expert, but I already started using ideas from the EBD workshop while reading articles in various dental journals," he said, adding that he sees engaging in evidence-based dentistry as essential for 21st-century clinicians.

"If we consider ourselves to be scientists and educators of our patients, there are no other options to following and keeping up with the rapid developments in the science and practice of dentistry," said Dr. Belok.

In the May workshop's clinician track, participants will review with experts the most current clinical recommendations from the ADA and gain insight on applying the most up-to-date scientific evidence to patient treatment.

Meanwhile, participants in the educators' track will focus on pedagogical best practices for the classroom or clinic and learn to harness the power of small-group learning, including case-based learning and Process-Oriented Guided-Inquiry Learning, or POGIL.

Educators at the workshop will hear from instructor Dr. Satish Kumar, an assistant professor in the school of dental medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kumar first sought out an ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry workshop back in 2009, while he was a faculty member at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry.

Photo of Dr Kumar
Dr. Kumar
"Attending and contributing in the EBD workshops strengthens my knowledge and skills and helps me recognize and learn from my mistakes," said Dr. Kumar. "I am fortunate to be surrounded by great minds who help with this process."

Dr. Kumar said, as an educator, he sees the impact of helping students engage with evidence-based dentistry.

"I have learned over the years that students are essentially becoming lifelong learners when they pursue EBD under supervision in school," he said. "They are learning 'how to learn' by constantly finding relevant answers to clinical questions from best available evidence."

Still, Dr. Kumar said any clinician, dental student, researcher or educator could benefit from engaging with evidence-based dentistry.

"I see evidence-based dentistry as the conscientious way to provide care to our patients," he said. "I believe it pushes us to keep up-to-date with latest research from etiology to treatments and their benefits and harms. It develops our critical thinking skills and makes us life-long learners."

All participants in the workshop will hear from experts in evidence-based dentistry, including Dr. Elliot Abt, a past chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs who received a master's degree in evidence-based health care from the University of Oxford; and Dr. Robert Weyant, professor and chair of the Department of Dental Public Health and Information Management at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, who has been teaching evidence-based dentistry for more than 10 years to both dental students and faculty, among others.

For more information about the workshop, visit ADA.org/modern. For more information about or resources from the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, visit EBD.ADA.org.