The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, is awarding two seven-year research grants totaling $22 million to researchers in the University of Washington School of Dentistry. The grants, the largest ever received by the School, will establish a 150-dentist network across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah, and develop a coordinating center to enroll patients in clinical trials through local dentist offices. The network will be called the Northwest Practice-Based Research Collaborative in Evidence-Based Dentistry, or Northwest PRECEDENT.
Of the funds, $14,700,000 will be used to develop the research network and pay for 15 to 20 studies over the course of seven years, according to Dr. Timothy DeRouen, executive associate dean for research and administrative affairs at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM), and the principal investigator and chair for the network.
“Practice-based networks are intended to generate timely information that’s relevant to the practice of dentistry,” DeRouen said. “By working with state dental associations, dental alumni groups, and local dental study clubs, we’ll recruit practitioners to participate in the network.” Five regional coordinators will share oversight duties across the broad geographic region served by the network. An educational program will be offered to participating dentists.
The remaining $7,500,000 will be used to establish the data coordinating center (DCC) for the network.
Dr. Brian Leroux, associate professor for dental public health sciences in the UW School of Dentistry and of biostatistics in the SPHCM as well as principal investigator and director of coordinating, said, “The DCC will build on the strengths of an existing biostatistics group here at the UW. It will provide scientific leadership in design and implementation of clinical research and the infrastructure needed for the conduct of clinical trials and other studies to address important oral health care questions.”
“Together, these grants represent the largest in our School’s history, a true milestone,” said Dr. Martha Somerman, dean of the School of Dentistry.
“The NIDCR has afforded us a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues in the community and generate timely information that’s relevant to the practice of dentistry, and to their patients. Ultimately patients are the ones who will be better-served because of these studies.”
The UW will collaborate with the School of Dentistry at Oregon Health Sciences University and use the Washington Dental Service database to answer questions facing dental practitioners in the five state region.
Northwest PRECEDENT is one of only three practice-based networks funded by NIDCR. The other two are centered at New York University, New York City, and University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Established in 1945, The UW School of Dentistry is dedicated to excellence in dental education, research and community care. As the leading provider of dental care in the Pacific Northwest, the School also has educated three-quarters of all the dentists now practicing in Washington state. The School receives more research grants from the National Institutes of Health than any other dental school in the nation.