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‘Our future, our very existence, depends on research’: ATSU-MOSDOH marks D3 Research Day

The St. Louis Dental Center, a partnership of A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health and Affinia Healthcare.

Two semesters of research and scholarly activity culminated this week with the second annual A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) D3 Research Day.

Projects, presented virtually due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, were collaborations between ATSU-MOSDOH faculty members and third-year dental students. Topics included digital dentistry, emotional wellbeing of dental students, oral hygiene sequencing, barriers to care, and more among the 17 research projects.

Presentations utilized Kubify’s Learning Toolbox. Each research project is available for viewing at my.ltb.io/#/showcase/mosdoh.

“(Kubify) gives a unique opportunity to interact with the presenters through chat, as well as being able to access the abstract in many different aspects of the research that the faculty mentor and student researchers did,” said Joan Davis, PhD, ATSU-MOSDOH professor and director of research and special projects. 

In delivering keynote remarks, Gaylah Sublette, MBA, ATSU vice president of research and sponsored programs, said the COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of scientific research’s importance.

“I am hanging my hope on research and science coming down in real time with discoveries and rapid testing for the Coronavirus, hopefully new treatment initiatives, vaccines on the horizon, 3D printing of needed PPE (personal protective equipment), mass production of ventilators by car companies,” Sublette said. “If you haven’t done so yet today, go thank a scientist, or, better yet, become one. Our future, our very existence, depends on research.

“Research opportunities are everywhere you look. Every patient encounter, every case? Research opportunity. Every new teaching method is a research opportunity. Innovative training initiatives in our partnering community health centers? That’s a rich area of research for all of us. This pandemic is a major research opportunity. What did we do right, what did we do wrong, what can we do for the future?”

An example of carotid artery calcifications
An example of carotid artery calcifications shown by Richard Vargo, DMD, assistant professor and specialty care unit director for oral and maxillofacial pathology, Andrew Otto, D3, Chris Gaignat, D3, and Kristen Howard, D3, in “Prevalence of Carotid Artery Calcifications on Digital Panoramic Radiographs of Military Veterans.” This research project won first place at ATSU-MOSDOH’s D3 Research Day.

Judges ranked the top 3 team posters, with a prize of travel expenses for one student from each group to present at state or national professional meetings. 

First place went to Richard Vargo, DMD, assistant professor and specialty care unit director for oral and maxillofacial pathology, Andrew Otto, D3, Chris Gaignat, D3, and Kristen Howard, D3, for “Prevalence of Carotid Artery Calcifications on Digital Panoramic Radiographs of Military Veterans.”

Second place was awarded to Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, professor and ATSU-MOSDOH vice dean, Kirkland Fehrman, D3, Bradley Kirkpatrick, D3, and Audrey Frenz, D3, for “Evaluation of the Relationship Between Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Dental Caries in Adults.” 

Third place was presented to Mike Abels, DDS, assistant professor and CCU director, Sarah Cork, D3, and, Shayna Vercruysse, D3, for “Emotional Health of MOSDOH Students.”

Additionally, Cork was named Dentsply Sirona 2021 SCADA (Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and Its Application) Award winner. Dr. Jain said Cork was selected for several reasons, including her dedication to research through her first three years at ATSU-MOSDOH. Cork receives a trip to present at a research meeting and exhibition next year in Boston.

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