UW News

February 25, 2003

UW School of Dentistry opens Center for Leadership Education in Pediatric Dentistry

The University of Washington School of Dentistry‘s Department of Pediatric Dentistry is establishing a maternal and child health Center for Leadership Education in Pediatric Dentistry. The center will prepare pediatric dentists through leadership training, a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) program and research collaboration to become leaders in education, policy, health administration, research, advocacy and public service focused on oral health of children and families.

The center will also become a resource for curricula, continuing education, consultation and technical assistance to maternal and child health-care providers, state agencies and other oral programs in important areas including cultural competency, professionalism and inter-professional collaboration.

“The UW Center for Leadership Education in Pediatric Dentistry will create a vision for leaders in pediatric dentistry capable of caring for individual children and families and committed to addressing barriers to improved oral health, including children with special health-care needs. Presently, there is a serious national shortage of dentists and especially pediatric dentists, and too few participate in Medicaid programs,” said co-principal investigator Dr. Penelope Leggott.

The UW program is the third and newest pediatric dentistry leadership training center in the country. The other two are at the University of North Carolina and the University of Iowa.

The new center is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through a Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) training grant. The center will collaborate with other MCHB funded leadership training centers at the UW in nursing, pulmonary medicine, nutrition, social work and public health, as well as MCHB-funded centers outside the UW.

The center’s team is led by co-principal investigators Leggott and Dr. Wendy Mouradian, and includes Dr. Lynne Robbins, co-director of the School of Medicine’s Teaching Scholars Program; Dr. Colleen Huebner, director of the Maternal and Child Health Program in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine; Dr. Bryan Williams, director of dental medicine at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center (CHRMC); and Dr. Doug Schaad from the Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics.

The center plans to graduate three to four pediatric dentists a year, for a total of 15 to 20 during the next five years. The center projects that eight of them will earn a Master’s in Public Health degree or a Leadership in Education certificate. This program will also collaborate with UW;s recently funded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pipeline grant on development of curriculum to prepare dental students to spend time in underserved communities.

“We were able to recruit all of our top choices for the 2003 entering class, and we are very excited to begin this new endeavor with such top-notch, gifted candidates,” Leggott said.

“This center will dramatically change the culture of the pediatric dentistry residency program, enriching it with leadership training and additional outreach activities,” Mouradian said. “It will increase the number of leaders who will address critical and emerging problems in children?s oral health, such as health disparities, access to care in rural areas and needed research areas. We have found our pediatric dental graduate students very eager to collaborate with others in community settings and educational activities, and we believe they have the potential to move the field forward, if offered the right training experiences.”

In the Spring of 2004, the center will co-sponsor a national leadership conference in Seattle with the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training program in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine. The conference will focus on what leadership is, and how it can be measured and evaluated.