Lucia Cevidanes University of North Carolina
We are indebted to the AAOF for supporting our current research. As a junior faculty member in the Orthodontic Department at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, I am most grateful to the AAOF for funding the Robert E. Binder Teaching Fellowship Award. Our profession depends on support of research by independent investigators and I am happy to be counted in this group. Since joining the faculty in 2005 and working with Dr. William Proffit, I have been working with 3D superimposition techniques to measure changes with growth and treatment, developing several software programs to analyze 3D data, and have published numerous related articles. The AAOF award has enabled me to continue my research efforts and has most certainly helped to provide a better understanding of asymmetry and improved treatment options for these complex problems. My research continues to develop 3D analysis methods to quantify facial asymmetry and improve pre-surgical characterization of jaw deformities. This award has also enabled me to strengthen my clinical and teaching skills, as well as strengthed my clinical research background, as I work to develop an independent research program in 3D imaging for diagnosis, treatment planning and follow-up for orthodontic and orthognathic surgical treatment. The AAOF award has provided the assistance needed in preparation of grant materials and publications, thus allowing me to devote significant time to develop my clinical care and teaching abilities that are vital for me to achieve my career goals and to make meaningful contributions to orthodontic academics. The AAOF has a continuing role to play as a major supporter for current and future educators and researchers.
Marshall Deeney Univesity of Rochester / Eastman Dental
The timing of the AAOF Faculty Development Fellowship Award was spot on! It allowed me to continue to do what I enjoy the most, teaching graduate orthodontic residents. I began teaching on a day per week basis in the Graduate Orthodontic Department at The Eastman Dental Center the week after I graduated from the same department. It was a thrill, and very exciting, and clearly helped my professional development as I continued to associate with talented faculty members and of course, the talented, idealistic and passionate orthodontic residents. Because of this very positive experience, I did not hesitate to join the department as program director on a full-time basis in 2007.
The AAOF funding helped immensely with salary support which eased the transition from private practice. Unfortunately, the situation in the Orthodontic Department at the Eastman Dental Center changed dramatically when our Chairman left for a similar position at another institution at the end of 2008. How quickly things can change! I needed to increase my time commitment to the department and the AAOF award allowed me to do just that. I am able to continue to teach and interact with our residents though I am now involved in more administrative work including Chairing the Search Committee for a new chairperson and establishing a departmental budget. This, too, has clearly been an education. But the point is that the budget support from the AAOF grant made the restructuring within our department more manageable and the department is moving forward. I am sure there are numerous and varied stories of how the AAOF money was used and how it has benefited orthodontic educators, orthodontic research and orthodontic education in North America. My story is about great timing. I am very grateful.
Dr. Nanci De Felippe University of Illinois
I have the deepest gratitude for AAOF for awarding me with a fellowship that has greatly impacted my academic career. Such award enhanced my financial situation as a new faculty and brought me recognition in the orthodontic field. I really appreciate the fact that the AAOF recognizes the need to attract and sustain young faculty. This is truly admirable. Thank you so much!
Cheryl DeWood University of Tennessee
How your financial support impacts graduate orthodontic programs: One educator's view from the trenches
Dr. Cheryl DeWood, an assistant professor in the Department of Orthodontics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry, has experienced firsthand the benefits of the AAO Foundation's Awards Program. She provides her insights as to why support of the AAO Foundation and one's alma mater is important to the specialty of orthodontics.
In the interest of full disclosure and to get this out of the way at the beginning, this is the third year I have been the grateful recipient of an AAO Foundation (AAOF) Faculty Development Award. But before you start to think that this article is about how my AAOF award tipped the balance and made the difference between me being on faculty and being in private practice, I have to confess that I would teach even if I didn't get paid. In fact, I did teach for a long time without being paid for it specifically. For example, I volunteered at the GPR program near my practice, I loved every opportunity that came my way to educate my patients, and I considered it proof of a good day when one of my staff members went home from work with new knowledge or a new skill. I have always thought it was cool that the word "doctor" means "teacher." Everyone I know who teaches has this in common: We all have a need to share what we know. If we didn't feel this way, if we didn't find some personal satisfaction in it, we wouldn't do it. I start with this information to dispel the notion that I am in some way "taking one for the team" by being in education. When I first meet colleagues who find out I am a full-time teacher, they often thank me. Frankly, while I do enjoy their appreciation, I feel a little guilty letting them persist in the belief that teaching is somehow a sacrifice for me. I'm in education because I like it. I do miss some things about private practice, but, for the most part, there is no comparison between working with patients and working with students.
That is not to say that there are not some trade-offs. That's where you come in. Consider the following example. In spite of the fact that I have made the choice to teach instead of being in private practice, I still have to decide how to pay for the CE courses I want to take. My AAOF Award is my CE budget for the year, which, in the past, has allowed me to take courses on TADs that would have been a financial stretch for me otherwise. At Tennessee, we have an alumni-sponsored foundation. Using funds from this foundation, we bought TADs-related equipment in an expedient manner. This purchase would have required special requests (resulting in delays) if we had used the standard procurement process. Together, the combination of AAOF support and alumni support made it possible for us to offer TADs as part of our clinical curriculum sooner than we would have been able to otherwise.
When I was in practice, I supported my school, but I really didn't think it mattered that much. Now that I'm in education, I am astonished at how important it is. If you already support your school or the AAOF, thank you. If you support both your school and the AAOF, thanks even more. If you do neither, you should start. I have always thought that it was unseemly to admonish or cajole, but I will make an exception for this. If you are not supporting your school or the AAOF, you should start. Start now.
There are lots of reasons people don't give. Here are the ones I hear most.
I'm still paying off my loans. If you haven't been out of school long, and you are still paying off debt, contribute anyway. It's okay to start small, but get in the habit. You'll never miss $100 or $200 this year, and next year you can give more. Don't think that your school doesn't want an amount that you think is too small. No amount is too small.
I can't afford it right now. Do I even need to talk about this one? You know how much you make, and you know where that puts you relative to the rest of the population. By any reasonable measure, you are rich. Trust me, you will get far more satisfaction out of contributing to your school and the AAOF than what you buy at the mall, the car dealership, or, well, you know your retail temptations better than I do.
I hated being in school. If you had a classmate or an instructor who took some of the fun out of the time you were in your program, move on! In spite of him, or her, or them, you still get to be an orthodontist; isn't it great?! Stinginess should be beneath you now and forever more. Thanks to your education, you can afford to be magnanimous.
The stuff they teach now is all wrong. I can't give money to support the things they're teaching now. Maybe the way you were taught was better, but we're all doing the best we can. Don't give because you want things to be done differently, give because you should. You wouldn't be in the position you are today without your education, regardless of how we're teaching people now. Give without strings attached because your education has allowed you to have a living and a life that allows you to do so.
If you really can't give, I hope things improve for you soon. If you can give and don't, please join those of your classmates who do contribute. We need your support. Both the AAOF and your school do good and necessary things with your contributions.
Dr. Jeryl D. English University of Texas at Houston
It is indeed a pleasure to write a message on what the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF) has meant to me during my career development and why I have supported the AAOF.
During my orthodontic residency at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, I knew that I enjoyed teaching fellow residents, so after a twenty-four year career with the United States Army Dental Corps, I sought a teaching position at Baylor College of Dentistry. Entering academia even with board certification by the American Board of Orthodontics and twenty-four years of clinical experience is not a guarantee of success.
An educator must understand the academic environment in order to advance. New faculty members look to the department chairman and senior faculty to be advocates for successful career planning. Receiving mentoring via a faculty development plan and having enough time projected in the schedule to work on projects are critical factors. Dr. Peter Buschang was one my mentors who taught me the importance of research and guided my early efforts in discovery. Dr. Richard Ceen, my department chairman, helped me with my lecture preparation. During the first year of my academic career, I realized that a healthy balance of duties between teaching, service and research is critical to academic success.
The AAOF was very helpful to me personally by providing me with a $15,000 Faculty Development Grant. Most institutions have limited professional development support for new faculty members. My AAOF grant allowed me to pay registration fees and travel costs for the IADR/AADR meetings and I was able to present my initial research findings as abstracts or oral presentations. My mentors provided a collegial process for timely feedback. They taught me what mattered most in my new position, and I could then figure out what didn't matter.
Teaching is very important to me personally, as almost all faculty members truly appear to value the interactions with residents and students. However, if one wants to move through the ranks of promotion for tenure and for selection as program director and chairman, administrative skills must be developed. Today, I serve as program director and Chairman of the Department of Orthodontics at the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston. I have the best job in the world; it is everything I expected and more. It challenges me in ways I never imagined. It opens my eyes to new ways of thinking, and it reinforces my belief that everyone has a unique contribution to make. Serving as Chairman of UTDB along with my duties as Director on the American Board of Orthodontics are among the most professionally rewarding undertakings in my orthodontic career. My success was aided by the AAOF, so I have paid off my initial pledge and anticipate pledging additionally to the AAOF in my will. I want the new teachers entering orthodontic academia to have the same opportunity I did to receive a fellowship award or grant. Faculty members who are successful will enjoy the intellectual stimulation with residents. Clearly, the initial AAOF grant allowed me to focus on doing the right things to be successful as a teacher and researcher. I will be forever grateful to the AAOF for their great support.
Ki Beom Kim Saint Louis University
I really appreciate to the AAOF for the support that I have received. The financial support from the AAOF has been helped me to focus on my career goal which is to become an excellent clinical orthodontist and scientific investigator. I am very grateful for the AAOF to recognize the challenges that the educators are facing. Thank you so much!
Manuel Lagreavere University of Alberta
The American Association of Orthodontists Foundation has really supported me this year with this award. Being a recent graduate, the decision to become an Academic or a private practice orthodontist was based on the economic load one is carrying. Thanks to this award the AAOF has allowed me to pursue my goals of being an Academic and to proceed with private practice orthodontics focusing my energy on becoming the best professional I can be. With this award I can continue to develop my research in the area of three-dimensional analysis and maxillary expansion treatments.
Thanks to the AAOF
Carlos Flores-Mir University of Alberta
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the AAOF for the immense support I did receive from them in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 periods. Both fellowships were key to help me support my first academic years here in Alberta. Being able to use the funds to support attendance to workshops, meetings and research was invaluable.
As it can be seen in the AAOF website these fellowships have helped tens of new orthodontic faculty members in their initial years of their academic careers. Although it could be argued that the amounts per se may not necessarily be considered major we as young recipients do really appreciate the fact itself. As an educator to see fellow practitioners support us does really give us an essential and powerful message.
Dr. Mark G. Hans Case Western Reserve University
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the work of the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation. Through its generous financial support of research over the years, the AAOF has opened avenues leading to the discovery of new and valuable orthodontic related knowledge. In addition, AAOF funds have financed faculty development which as resulted in strong leadership and scholarly achievement in the orthodontic field.
The AAOF proves that organized orthodontics supports education not only realistically by granting needed funds for research and faculty development, but also by reinforcing the orthodontic community's commitment to excellence in orthodontic education and patient care.
Thank you for this opportunity to convey my gratitude to the AAOF.
Dr. Greg J. Huang University of Washington
I began my full-time academic career about 10 years ago, and feel extremely fortunate to have been the recipient of several AAOF Career Development Awards. I used the funds for various activities that helped with my career development, such as attending meetings and purchasing equipment to assist with teaching and research. Some funds were also used for salary support, which helped with the transition from private practice to full-time academics. However, perhaps the greatest impact of the AAOF Career Development Awards was the message that the AAOF cares about and understands the challenges of an academic career, that the AAOF values individuals who choose this career path, and that the AAOF wishes to assist those who dedicate their lives to educating future orthodontists. I strongly endorse the AAOF Career Development Awards, and hope that all orthodontists will support the AAOF in their efforts to assist academicians.
Sunil Kapila University of Michigan
THE AAOF: REFLECTIONS ON PAST SUCCESSES AND FUTURE PROMISE
It has been 13 years since I received my first of several Research Awards from the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation. This time frame has given me ample opportunity to reflect on the difference that the AAOF has made to my career, and indirectly to the careers of about 20 classes of orthodontic residents that I have had the privilege to teach at two institutions. It is also a good time to reflect on the successes of many other faculty who, like me, have benefited substantially from the opportunity afforded us by your generosity channeled via the AAOF.
I still remember vividly my reaction when I got word of being awarded my first grant in 1994, AAOF's inaugural year. I felt a great sense of achievement and exhilaration for many reasons that include the obvious ones like "I now have the resources to conduct research, publish papers and the momentum to launch into an academic career." More importantly it demonstrated to me the recognition that our parent organization and its members placed on the importance of my work and my success as an academician- an important validation for a young an impressionable person that he was on the right track. My strong positive sentiments have been oft repeated at every grant that I have been fortunate to subsequently obtain from the AAOF, which I believe are shared by my peers who have had similar success in obtaining this support. The findings generated through many of the AAOF awards were critical not only for several publications, but also provided me with the essential preliminary data needed to obtain subsequent grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To date, every single grant that I have obtained from the NIH, that now total several million dollars, is directly connected to an initial investment made by the AAOF. This subsequent funding has led to additional studies to provide a better understanding of TMJ pathobiology, bone turnover in periodontal disease and tooth movement, and in tissue engineering.
The many other successes of the AAOF speak for themselves. At the 67 graduate orthodontic residency programs in the US and Canada, there are 11 Department Chairs and/or Program Directors who have been directly supported by the AAOF early in their academic careers. Additionally, 80% of Junior Faculty supported by the AAOF remain in full-time academics after five years. The combined contribution of these individuals to the education of numerous orthodontists, most of who are in private practice, and to the profession at large is immeasurable. To me the success of many of my peers and I in academics reflects a great return on investment of your contributions and bodes well for the longevity of our beloved profession. This support enhances and creates a critical mass of sophisticated educators to prepare the next generation of highly capable practitioners, academics and researchers. The knowledge created through the studies funded by AAOF enables the incorporation of science and evidence into our practices and indirectly helps in the understanding of other medical and orofacial conditions including craniofacial anomalies, osteoporosis, and arthritis, amongst others. Eventually, this knowledge base will lead to improved efficiency and quality of treatment we render to our patients.
While it is may be easy to presume that the AAOF has adequate funds to provide continued and significant support to academicians, this is indeed not the case. Many mitigating factors necessitate continued support of the foundation and our vigilance in sustaining our excellence as a profession. The growing disparity in academic and private practice incomes makes it challenging, if not impossible, to recruit and retain the best in academics. While, most academics do not expect to earn at the level of a private practitioner, it is imperative that this discrepancy between remuneration be diminished through various efforts both at the level of individual institutions and through help from the profession. I believe that only by retaining the best in academics will we ensure a vibrant and evolving profession. In a recent trip to China, I also realized how very globalized every aspect of our lives are becoming- from business to biomedicine, to technology and even education. For us to retain our edge in this globalized world, we have to make every effort to support and preferably enhance our educational and research enterprises. Since the support for higher education and research continues its precipitous decline at the state and federal levels, we are increasingly dependent upon the support of our profession through the AAOF and alumni associations. Your active role and that of the AAOF is critical for the many reasons surmised in my reflections for the continued health of our profession.
Chin-Yu Lin Harvard School of Dental Medicine
I would like to show my sincerest appreciation for the support from AAOF. Since my commitment to the full-time orthodontic education, AAOF is my strongest support for my career development. Starting from my residency, AAOF is always there with me. The faculty developmental awards and postdoctoral fellowship award from AAOF are the prides I always love to share with. It is this kind of support that makes it all worthy to be a full-time faculty in the academics. Thank you AAOF!
Steven J. Lindauer Virginia Commonwealth University
It's hard to believe that I have been on the orthodontic faculty here at the Medical College of Virginia campus of VCU for almost 20 years! My decision to begin an academic career was encouraged by an NIH training grant I received when I was a resident at the University of Connecticut. It required that I teach for 1 year after graduation and I was lucky enough to work under Bob Isaacson at VCU for the next 12 years! I loved the intellectual challenges that I faced every day and the opportunity to work with the orthodontic residents as they developed their knowledge and skills. However, there were the obvious financial pressures to leave academics and, especially 20 years ago organized orthodontics did not seem all that interested in supporting its educational programs. The idea to develop the AAO Foundation was born in this time, of a need to support orthodontic education financially and to increase the specialty's awareness of an impending crisis. I received Biomedical Research Grant funding from the AAOF in 1996 and 2000. Since then, I have grown tremendously and am often called upon to lecture on topics related to those two grants: Biomechanics and the Future of Orthodontic Education. Support from the AAOF and, perhaps most importantly, the message of respect and support for orthodontic education that it nurtured and publicized, helped to keep me on track in my academic career. I still enjoy the diversity of activities and challenges I encounter every day, now in my role as Chair of the Orthodontic Department. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years already.
Dr. James Mah University of Southern California
The AAOF has been a key part of my career development. The AAO Foundation has allowed me to direct my career and reach a level that I would not have otherwise attained. The support has allowed me to perform the activities that you would expect a full-time faculty member to do – teach, practice part-time and conduct research.
One area where the AAO Foundation has helped me is in supporting research not traditionally funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In orthodontics, we have problems that are very important to us and our patients, such as root resorption and relapse. I remember when I completed my doctorate; my advisor said to me "stick with AIDS research, cancer or Parkinson's and Alzheimer's research." He said this not to demean other areas of research, but because he knew this is where a significant portion of federal funding is allocated. Let's look at this from another perspective. The federal government spends $5,000 per citizen per year on all federal programs. Only $50 per citizen per year is spent on biomedical research. Of this amount, 83 cents per citizen per year is in the budget of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). I extrapolated this further by searching the NIH Web site for orthodontic-related research and found that roughly $2.5 million was spent last year. This equates to less than 1 cent per citizen per year. This underscores the idea that while some of our research issues are in alignment with the NIH's mission, not all of our research requirements fall into this field of interest. For this reason, we are fortunate to have the AAO Foundation. In my research, I have been fortunate to be funded by the AAOF to study root resorption. With the support of the AAO Foundation, my lab has recently been able to develop a biochemical assay for root resorption. This ELISA-based method involves the sampling of gingival crevicular fluid and analyzing it for the breakdown products of the root. This method holds promise as a very useful research tool, as well as a diagnostic assay for patients undergoing orthodontic tooth movement.
The AAO Foundation has also helped me fund a pilot study that will serve as preliminary data for an NIH/NIDCR grant application. This is a little bit like saying "money begets more money." As you are aware, all orthodontic programs are working on tight budgets, and research is expensive. Many departments simply do not have the funds to pursue their research ideas. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be granted an AAOF basic science grant to begin studies on the identification of the genes responsible for mandibular prognathism. I am interested in the genetics of facial form as this knowledge is not only critical to our understanding of growth and development but also has very real clinical applications. With this knowledge, we may be able to better predict growth, response to treatment mechanics, treatment outcomes, and possibly look at gene therapy. When I was developing the idea for this research, I discussed it with Harold Slavkin, director of the NIDCR. He loved the idea and encouraged me to submit an application with pilot data. Fortunately, with the support of the AAO Foundation, I am now able to begin collecting families with Class III skeletal malocclusions and converting this data into an NIH application.
These are just two areas where the AAO Foundation has directly helped my career. Everyone knows the feeling of success and seeing their ideas come to fruition. Imagine if your ideas are stifled because of inadequate funding. Without support to realize your ideas, you would become frustrated and likely leave academia. This is another area where the AAOF has helped me and many others. With its support, I am able to conduct my research, balance a schedule of teaching and practice, and, overall, enjoy my work.
Jeff Nickel, Program Director and Laura Iwasaki, Leo A. Rogers Chair University of Missouri-Kansas City
AAOF Funding has been and is Key to our Progress in Orthodontic Research
Ten years ago we submitted our first funding application to the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF). This important beginning, our first Biomedical Research Award, allowed us to move forward with our research in many ways. This AAOF funding was an essential ingredient as we set out to study the factors that affect the speed of orthodontic tooth movement. Other essential components were the talented collaborators that we found at the University of Nebraska, who brought their expertise and experience in molecular biology to the table, and the energetic and exceptionally talented Jim Haack, who was an orthodontic resident at the time. This initial project was the basis for Jim's M.S. thesis, 2 publications, and a set of new clinically and scientifically relevant questions that initiated a series of orthodontic research projects.
The resultant series of orthodontic research projects was fueled by 2 additional Biomedical Research Awards and is currently supported by a Center Award. The body of work that has resulted from AAOF funding has lead to clinically useful and fundamental data on the nature and speed of human tooth movement and the variables that affect it. This funding has supported 6 residents' research projects to date and our research collaborations have broadened to include experts in genetics and bone from the Medical College of South Carolina and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
We would be remiss if we did not also acknowledge the importance of the AAOF funding in support of Graduate Orthodontic Programs that was available through 2003. This allowed each orthodontic resident involved in a research project a relatively modest amount of funding for her/his project. However, the results of this funding to the residents, the programs, and to the field of orthodontics are quite notable. For example, during the 7 year-period of 1997 – 2003 in our laboratory, this funding supported, at least in part, the research projects of 16 orthodontic residents and lead to 12 M.S. degrees and 13 publications. In addition to the studies of human tooth movement, we supervised projects on friction in orthodontic appliances, the mechanical properties of the temporomandibular joint disc, and modeling of the human jaw system. Projects on these 2 latter topics provided preliminary data for another of our current studies, entitled: "Effects of gender and temporomandibular disorder on mandibular mechanics," which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
We are indebted to the AAOF for supporting our past and current research. Any sort of survey of our peers and colleagues involved in orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedics research would show the importance of funding from the AAOF to their successes and to progress in the field. The future of this field and our profession depends on support of research by independent investigators and groups of investigators. Fundamental discoveries in the past century have lead to the recent surge of discoveries in the realms of genetics, proteomics, and molecular and nano-particular engineering. The growing wealth of new knowledge and technical capabilities is exciting. However, for our discipline to share in this wealth, bridge research is needed to bring the new information, techniques, and instrumentation to the clinical realm in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.
We ask ourselves 3 questions: who will do this research to move our field forward and improve clinical treatment, how will this important research be funded, and who will teach our profession about the discoveries? With the help of the AAOF, we and others to date have been trying to fulfill these questions, but what about the future? Consider the paucity of people, incentives, and funds available to address these questions. Programs in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics attract among the best and brightest dental graduates, the vast majority of whom go on to be highly successful clinicians in private practice. In our own experience, of some 45 former orthodontic residents that we have worked with, we know of only 3 who are currently involved in teaching, all as part-time faculty. However, the potential for moving our field forward through research and the incorporation of new discoveries to clinical practice is clear: we have a wealth of exceptional students entering the field, of important questions to be answered, and of discoveries being made around us. The profession itself and those interested in it, must realize the critical nature of addressing the aforementioned 3 questions for the future. Support of the AAOF is one significant way in which individuals can contribute and help the future of the field and the profession. Undoubtedly, the AAOF has a continued role to play as the life-blood for current and future researchers and educators and their research and teaching endeavors.
Dr. J. Martin Palomo Case Western University
Challenge of Academia
As a resident I already had the idea of being somewhat connected to an university, since I thought it would help me to be up to date with new technologies, etc. During my residence I came in contact with leaders like Mark Hans, my chair then and now, Rolf "Buzz" Behrents, and Lysle Johnston among others. These interactions were responsible for my decision of full time academia, and almost 10 years later, and after achieving tenure, I can say that there is nothing else I would rather be doing. I have my patients 2 half days a week, which makes a big financial addition, but I must say that during those days I often feel unproductive, and I would rather get what I call my "real work" done. What I like the most about academia is the challenging multi tasking required, the management of people and situations at different levels, the chance for policy making, and the constant opportunity for growth and change. I can safely say that there is never a dull moment. At all times I am either teaching, doing research, supervising patients, making administrative decisions, and in my computer there is always an article in the process of being written, or reviewed. This may sound like a lot of work for some people, but it is not the amount, but the variety that makes it look different than the alternatives. And this variety, to me, is an advantage to me in the long term, since the chances of me getting bored of being in academia are less than if I was always doing the same thing every day. Support from the AAO Foundation early in my academic career was essential in making this career choice possible, and for its development. The AAOF was the first institution outside of my own, to believe in me, by supporting my research. This support gave me the means and opportunity to show my capabilities, get credibility, and show other sources of funds that I am capable of doing quality work. I can only think how much more difficult my development would have been without the AAOF.
Dr. Kathy Russell Dalhousie University
The AAOF has established a vital role in the future of academic orthodontics and the profession of Orthodontics as a whole. Over the past decade, AAOF has grown to support orthodontics through the various grants available to individuals as well as programmes and institutions. As a junior faculty member being awarded a Faculty Development grant provided me with financial support to start and establish a research base and infrastructure that has led to additional research endevours well into my career.
Receiving the fellowship was a pivotal component in the development and success of my academic career. I was awarded the grant early in my career prior to obtaining tenure. It supported the establishment of my research activities and substantially led to my promotion and tenure. I cannot thank the Foundation and its benefactors enough for the support both in a financial manner as well as the recognition an AAOF fellowship provides to junior faculty members. Sources of funding at the junior level are not abundant, especially within the realm of clinical orthodontics. Without these awards, attracting orthodontists to enter academics and allowing them to advance with a successful career will be challenging and the status of academics will suffer greatly with the future becoming even more uncertain. The AAO and AAOF has recognized the need to attract and sustain academics and support academic programmes across North America and the AAO Foundation Awards are an excellent demonstration of the success such programmes can have.
Dr. Glenn T. Sameshima University of Southern California
I am extremely grateful for the AAOF funding I received early in my career. The two research grants I received made it possible for me to develop two focused areas of research resulting in many publications. These publications were crucial in the development of my academic career, but more importantly, it showed me that the profession, if not the university, appreciated what I was trying to do in clinical research.
Junior faculty need all the support they can get from us. Orthodontic faculty with PhDs are particularly vulnerable to the whims of the tenure system. Even at the beginning of their careers, they must teach in the clinic, teach predocs, develop didactic courses and seminars, mentor resident research, perform administrative functions, and participate in school and university level activities- all of this while still expected to do high level research with federal funding!
I have made full time academics my career and I am very proud of our profession. We continue to attract the finest young men and women into our specialty, and I hope the AAOF continues to support and encourage the best of these to become our future program directors and chairs.
MARGHERITA SANTORO. Columbia University. "A BRIDGE over THE GAP"
When I recently received an invitation to participate to the AAOF volunteers program, my reaction was one of enthusiastic involvement. After all, faculty members already spend a good part of their time motivating future orthodontists to commit to the specialty and its organized professional components.
Writing a short testimonial provided me with an excellent opportunity for reflection on my own experience in academics, and on the invaluable encouragement I received from mentors, colleagues and institutions.
I will naturally reiterate what other esteemed colleagues have stated many times before. The AAOF support of faculty members at all stages of their careers has produced tangible results which are undeniably and directly useful to the profession, in terms of realization of clinical and basic science projects, publication of the obtained results, creation of pilot studies progressively leading to further NIH funding. When funds are used to integrate salaries, they are in fact helping the faculty members to travel and connect with their peers, present at our organized meetings and therefore, indirectly, have strongly influenced the longevity of the academic careers of the awardees.
I would like to add some personal comments to the effective general message. I have been serving as Program Director for the Division of Orthodontics at Columbia University for the past five years, and as full-time faculty member in the same division for the past twelve years after a three-year experience abroad as part-time faculty. Receiving the Subtenly, Baker, Eastman Award in 2004 made a definite impact in my career development, opened several opportunities for advancement, energetically restored my motivation in the demanding passage between junior and senior faculty responsibilities.The award helped me support several studies on the reliability of digital models and digital radiographs in the initial phase of the "orthodontic digital revolution", when software and hardware products were sprouting ubiquitously on the market, but evidence based data were still scarce. The research component of my early academic career has been devoted to studying the behavior of superelastic Nickel Titanium Alloys, in order to discern the combined effects of loading and temperature in conditions similar to the oral cavity. All studies involved our graduate students, were intended to be immediately translational and to be directly applicable to the daily life of the members of our community. The results were later on published in orthodontic peer reviewed journals.
I have recently been reading, however, comments and testimonials from colleagues who openly distinguish between "academicians" and "teachers", with "academicians" perceived as pursuers of an ivory tower full-time career that disconnects them from the profession, and "teachers" who are not necessarily involved with academic institutions.
These lines of thought are alarming and extremely damaging for the entire specialty. They are symptoms of a perception bias that increases an already existing chasm between the educational phase and the independent practice phase of the orthodontic profession. It is vital to the survival and progress of any profession that the two components remain closely integrated. If the perception bias keeps increasing, the scores of junior faculty members and volunteers teachers will vanish altogether, and the academic leadership will shortly follow suit. If dental schools lose the manpower to properly educate the next generation of orthodontists, experienced orthodontists on the verge of retirement will have to personally supply that service in their own offices for their young associates. The pre-specialty times of preceptorship might be dangerously due for a revival. A giant step for the orthodontic profession –undeniably backwards.
The AAOF is providing an exceptionally valuable service in preventing this detrimental process form progressing. Besides and beyond the tangible financial help, recognizing academicians' contribution to the profession and exposing them to public appreciation and validation for their life choice restores pride in their activities, motivates them to remain in academics and to make efforts to recruit the most qualified junior members in their ranks. The AAOF informs colleagues that academicians are educators working for the benefit and the future survival of the profession as a specialty, working in close contact with future orthodontists, pursuing projects seeking answers for pressing clinical questions. Ivory towers are few and far between.
Help the AAOF lay a bridge over the gap between the educational and independent practice component of our profession. Orthodontists have to educate to motivate and equally motivate to educate, in order to ensure and shape the future of our professional legacy. Pledge today.
Bhavna Shroff Virginia Commonwealth University
The American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF) has provided significant help to faculty members across the nation by funding their research projects and supporting their professional development for over a decade. I am currently a professor and the graduate program director at the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Orthodontics. Prior to being appointed at Virginia Commonwealth University, I served as a fulltime faculty member at University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. I love teaching and research, and I always wanted to teach fulltime since I started dental school. My teaching responsibilities have always included both a substantial clinical component and an active research program. The AAOF biomedical research grants have been instrumental in allowing me to continue my research at these two institutions. They helped me develop knowledge in the field of biology of tooth movement and eruption, and have been essential to the development and advancement of my academic career. But more importantly, as I experienced the positive impact of these biomedical research grants on my own research, on the residents and the dental students that help me accomplish the research, it became very clear that I needed to contribute to the AAOF. I decided to do so because it is so important for the future of Orthodontic education and Orthodontics as a profession. The funding that was awarded to me as AAOF biomedical research grants supported my research activities but also helped my departments and my schools. It helped orthodontic education in various different ways, and it had a very positive impact on the education of the next generation of orthodontists. Through the grants that are awarded, the AAOF insures that orthodontic education and research will always be at the cutting edge and that the profession will always offer the optimum treatment to patients. Ultimately, as the AAOF supports orthodontic faculty members, departments, and research, it benefits our patients by continuously improving the service that we offer them. I am very thankful to have been awarded these grants because they were essential to my professional development and I am very proud that I was able to contribute back to the AAOF.
J. Daniel Subtelny University of Rochester Center
It almost goes without saying that we should make every conceivable effort to preserve these invaluable longitudinal records which have been so diligently collected over the past years. Those of us in the academic world (full or part time) as well as those in the "World of Practice" (full or part time) know of the abundance of knowledge and clinically applicable information stored in the legacy of these records. Those are records which we will probably never be able to replicate again.
It's true, it can be argued they are not necessarily representative of the world population or ethnic differences, but they are a basis for information; a basis for comparisons; indications of variance and a basis for determining reasons for as well as, extent of variance. It can further be argued that they are flattened images of a three dimensional head, but with the inclusion of other recording of the same head - frontals, etc. – the human mind can interpolate them into reasonable three dimensional relationships to garnish valuable and applicable information. There is still pertinent and significant information to be gleamed from those records –information pertinent to our professional discipline.
I, myself, have greatly benefited by graciously having been given permission by B. Holly Broadbent, Sr., to trace 30 longitudinal series of cephalometric radiographs attained on growing individuals with good occlusions. I was able to study – and publish on – the Growth of the Soft Tissue Profile and later the Growth of the Soft Palate and the Nasapharynx. Many of our orthodontic students at Eastman have subsequently been able to use the same longitudinal "tracings" for comparative purposes in their research studies. From a longitudinal series of cephalometric radiographs housed in the Orthodontic Department at the University of Illinois – I was able to study the Growth of Adenoid Tissue and eventually correlate it to some significance to mouth breathing and malocclusion, etc. etc. Many studies were outgrowths of those recordings.
Over my years at Eastman (now Institute of Oral Health) many of the students – during their tenure- were able to benefit from having access to such longitudinal records at various other sites – such as the "continued" collection at Burlington, Canada. Suffice it to say – such studies have and should continue to produce significant information pertinent to everyday orthodontics, both in the world of practice and in the world of academics. I could go on and on, but there is no question in my mind – such recordings should be saved – they are too valuable to be discounted and their value lost to future generations of orthodontists.
Dr. Tung Nguyen University of North Carolina
I am very grateful to the AAOF for their continuing support. As a junior faculty adapting to the challenges and demands of academic life, I am constantly pulled in many directions. What often get neglected are scholarly activities. The AAOF Robert E Gaylord Fellowships provided me the funding and protected time to focus on my research, while improving my clinical skills and building a collection of teaching material to educate the next generation of orthodontists. The financial support from the AAOF also allowed me to present and disseminate my research findings at national and international meetings. The support has been critical to my development as junior faculty.
We have a student in our program who is interested in an academic career. Until he's ready to apply for his own fellowship/ grant, I plan to use some of my funding to help foster his development. By providing him with financial support to carry out his research and present his data at meetings, I hope he will gain an appreciate for the joys and rewards of an academic career. The best investment for our profession is in the development of the next generation of teachers/ researchers and for this I am very grateful to AAOF for everything that they have done and continue to do for our profession.
Dr. Sarandeep Huja University of Kentucky
Thank you for the opportunity to express my gratitude to the AAOF for the support I have received. Early in my career as an Assistant Professor, the two teaching fellowship (2002 and 2004) were critical in helping with my student loan indebtedness to institutions and friends who supported my education from 1993-2000. As a foreign national, I was only able to secure private loans. The AAOF support helped to rapidly pay off a six figure debt over a short period for 3 years. I share the amount to allow readers to understand how greatly I value the opportunities I received. While securing the loan and assuming the burden was daunting, an acquaintance in casual conversation once encouraging suggested that I might be surprised how well things could turn out. I often think of those words and I consider myself extremely lucky in so many ways to become a full time faculty. I also have seen how greatly AAOF awards have benefitted so many of my dedicated colleagues and friends, which make the impact of the AAOF even so much greater. It is with immense humility that I thank my mentors for their support over the various AAOF applications. In my mind, what is very significant is that the AAOF has been very dynamic in understanding and adapting to faculty needs and has consequently come up with positive changes in the Awards program. The AAOF has targeted and had forceful impact on development of faculty and research careers. The true influence of the AAOF will only be judged when dental historians will likely look back to trace the progress made by many individuals and leaders who were molded by AAOF support for the collective goal and mission of the AAOF and the orthodontic profession. Another way to attempt to understand the influence of the AAOF is to imagine for a moment what might have occurred had the AAOF not existed.
My translational research attempts to investigate the role of bone remodeling in the jaws. Two (2006 and 2008) of the AAOF biomedical awards that I received have investigated the role of bone remodeling in jaws of mice and in a larger animal models to study the effect of bisphosphonates on bone healing around implants and extraction sites. The AAOF funding was the nidus for additional successful grant applications. The support allowed me to develop new research ideas, engage dental students, residents and a postdoctoral researcher. In addition, it has given me the opportunity to present at various AAO meeting, other invited lectures, prepare and publish manuscripts. The AAOF has thus generated a large body of knowledge through the support of various investigators. The knowledge generated fuels further discoveries and ideas by funding organizations unrelated to the AAOF. To put it simply, I think for every dollar the AAOF has invested, it has generated unimaginable and exponential returns and thus is securing the future of our specialty and profession.
Dr. Edmund Khoo New York University
Orthodontic Faculty Development Fellowship Award
It would have taken me significantly longer to achieve what I have in the past 12 months if I did not have the support of the AAOF. Despite this being an award targeted at junior faculty, I think it is essential that all junior faculty members consider applying for this award. The beginning of one’s academic career is an epoch of profound changes, a critical phase to which any funding can make or break one’s career in academia. The paradox in this is, oftentimes it is difficult for junior faculty members to achieve funding due to the lack of seniority and experience in their rank. The fact that the AAOF has set aside funding specifically for junior faculty members shows great wisdom in its foresight. To this end, I am working towards a possible future application for the biomedical research award. I am currently working on a few research projects and corresponding IRB proposals which can benefit greatly from AAOF funding.
Dr. Sumit Yadav University of Connecticut Health Center
My name is Sumit Yadav and I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Orthodontics at the University of Connecticut Health Center. I am a board certified orthodontist and currently act as a research director for the orthodontic residents. Currently, working with musculoskeletal biologist at UCONN Health Center, I am expanding my research arena to devise cell based regenerative therapies for the treatment of degenerative diseases of the Temporomandibular Joint.
American Association of Orthodontic Foundation has supported me forthe last 5 years and to which I am very grateful. Early on inmy career, I was the recipient of 2 teaching fellowships and 3 Biomedical Research Awards. Because of the support from American Association of Orthodontic Foundation, I was able to collect the preliminary data to obtain an external funding. I was recently, awarded the CLinician-Scientist (KO8) grant by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to study the "Mechanism of BMP2 regulation of the Mandibular Condylar Cartilage Growth". The contributions from American Association of Orthodontic Foundation allowed me to persistently work toward the vision of understanding the scientific basis of the Temporomandibular Disorders and devise novel regenerative therapies for the treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders.
To conclude, I will like to show my appreciation to American Association of Orthodontic Foundation, for the faith and support they have shown in my research. I will always be grateful for their generosity, trust and most importantly the commitment towards my research.