NIDCR consolidates practice-based research networks

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has awarded a seven-year, $66.8 million grant to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Dentistry to create a national dental practice-based research network, consolidating the NIDCR's former three regional research networks into a single, nationally coordinated effort.

The new initiative, named the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network, will be headquartered at UAB. Six smaller regional research centers will be located in Birmingham; Rochester, NY; Gainesville, FL; Portland, OR; Minneapolis; and San Antonio.

Since launching the first practice-based initiative in 2005, NIDCR had supported three regional networks, including one at the UAB School of Dentistry. Each had its own affiliated practitioners, clinical studies, and administrative tasks.

"A national coordinating center streamlines the network structure for greater financial and administrative efficiency," said NIDCR director Martha Somerman, DDS, PhD, in a press release. "The national hub-and-spoke structure also should free up those at the regional networks to focus almost solely on research."

The grant's principal investigator is Gregg Gilbert, DDS, professor and chair of the UAB department of general dental sciences. Sonia Makhija, DDS, assistant professor in the UAB department of general dental sciences, will be the national director of communications and dissemination for the project, ensuring research information reaches practices and is implemented.

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