American Dental Education Association

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The American Dental Education Association (ADEA), founded in 1923 as the American Association of Dental Schools, is a non-profit association representing academic dentistry and based in Washington, D.C. It is known as The Voice of Dental Education.

In 2006, ADEA instituted open membership, which increased the number of ADEA member institutions and engaged their faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows in the Association’s work and goals. The mission of ADEA is to lead institutions and individuals in the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research and the delivery of oral health care for the overall health and safety of the public.

ADEA institutional members include all 76 U.S. and Canadian dental schools, over 800 allied and advanced dental education programs and 66 corporations working in oral health education. ADEA individual members are numbered at more than 20,000 faculty, staff, deans, program directors and students.

Dental education is a broad and varied field that trains people as general dentists, specialists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental laboratory technicians. ADEA membership mirrors this diversity, so the Association has 38 sections: academic affairs, anatomical sciences, behavioral science, biochemistry, nutrition, and microbiology, business and financial administration, cariology, clinic administration, community and preventative dentistry, comprehensive care and general dentistry, continuing education, dental anatomy and occlusion, dental assisting education, dental hygiene education, dental informatics, dental school admissions officers, development, alumni affairs, and public relations, educational research/development and curriculum, endodontics, gay-straight alliance, gerontology and geriatrics education, graduate and postgraduate education, minority affairs, operative dentistry and biomaterials, oral biology, oral diagnosis/oral medicine, oral and maxillofacial radiology, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, physiology, pharmacology, and therapeutics, postdoctoral general dentistry, practice management, prosthodontics, student affairs and financial aid, and substance abuse, addiction and tobacco dependence education; and ten special interest groups: career development for the new educator, dental hygiene clinic coordinators, foreign-educated dental professionals, graduate dental hygiene education programs, implant dentistry, lasers in dentistry, professional, ethical, and legal issues in dentistry, scholarship of teaching and learning, and teaching and learning with emerging technologies.

ADEA also fosters interconnected community experiences that enable members to meet their individual goals while leveraging their collective strength:

  • ADEA provides valuable support to entering students through its Division of Educational Pathways, which supports four application services: ADEA AADSAS (predoctoral programs), ADEA PASS (postdoctoral programs), ADEA CAAPID (postdoctoral programs for international dentists) and ADEA DHCAS (dental hygiene programs).
  • ADEA encourages students from diverse backgrounds to learn about careers in dentistry as early as elementary school. Programs such as ExploreHealthCareers.org, the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program, and the W.K. Kellogg/ADEA Minority Dental Faculty Development Program all assist underrepresented minority students in realizing their career goals.
  • For dental educators, ADEA offers ongoing opportunities to advance their skills and knowledge. The ADEA Leadership Institute and the ADEA Allied Dental Faculty Leadership Development Program cultivate leadership skills. Webinars, fellowship programs and numerous meetings (including the ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition) offer educational programming and networking to educators at all career stages.
  • ADEA publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Dental Education, the Bulletin of Dental Education, the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, surveys and reports on the state of dental education, policy briefs and much more.

ADEA determines best practices for dental education and encourages change in dental education programs and institutions that will benefit everyone. The ADEA Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (ADEA CCI) has engaged representatives from each U.S. dental school specifically to examine dental school curricula.

ADEA contributes to solving oral health care problems by encouraging excellence in dental education, research and patient care, and provides financial support for dental education, research, and leadership through the ADEAGies Foundation. The Gies Foundation was established in 1950, by colleagues and admirers or Dr. William J. Gies, a Columbia University biochemistry professor. Dr. Gies is best known for his 1926 landmark report on dental education in the United States and Canada. Dr. Gies published over 600 articles, pamphlets and books. The Gies Awards for vision, innovation and achievement in oral health and dental education are distributed annually at a special celebration held in conjunction with the ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition.

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