Leadership and Learning at the National Level

Dr. Rick Valachovic, Dr. John Gallo, and Dr. Sandra Andrieu

In many important ways, the future of dentistry is shaped by dental educators. In turn, it is vital that educators learn about the broader issues shaping the future of dentistry. Last month, 22 members of the faculty of the LSUHSC School of Dentistry (LSUSD) joined 2,300 educators at the 88th annual session of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) in San Diego to share their knowledge.

ADEA has over 19,000 members representing 70 dental schools from throughout the United States and Canada. Leading this year’s conference as president of ADEA was Dr. Sandra Andrieu, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at LSUSD. Her presidency made history as she is the third LSUSD faculty member to lead ADEA. Dr. James Harrison served as president from 1979-80 and Dr. Eric Hovland served from 2005-2006.

Dr. Andrieu graduated from the first class of the LSUSD program in dental hygiene in 1974. She has been a member of the LSUSD faculty since 1978 and associate dean for academic affairs since 1994. In 1991, she received her PhD with a special emphasis in higher education from the University of New Orleans. For over 20 years, she has been involved in leadership activities on local and national levels.

The theme for the dynamic conference was “Interprofessional Education: Teaching and Learning Together for Better Health.” Dr. Andrieu praised the efforts of the association in building rich opportunities for faculty development and leadership training. She is particularly pleased with how well Interprofessional Education (IPE) has been embraced by the oral health care education community. Progress has been made in educating members on the concepts of IPE – bringing students from two or more professions together in a clinical learning environment focusing on direct patient care, and teaching students by example to respectfully collaborate and communicate with members of other health care professions.

The meeting featured five days of programs and presentations, including faculty development workshops, idea sessions, posters, the ADEA TechExpo with over 70 exhibitors, and dozens of networking opportunities. Presentations and workshops focused on the most pressing issues in dentistry, such as working within new financial constraints, meeting the needs of more and differing patients and students, and applying new information to routine tasks. Attendance at this year’s meeting surpassed all previous records.

As president of ADEA, Dr. Andrieu had the special honor of selecting the theme for the annual session and the privilege of choosing individuals to be honored with presidential citations for their unique and important contribution to the association during her tenure. She chose nine recipients of presidential citations, two of whom, Dr. John Gallo and Dr. James Harrison, are LSUSD faculty members.

In preparation for the annual session, Dr. Andrieu selected Dr. John R. Gallo, III, assistant dean of clinical affairs, to chair the Annual Session Program Committee (ASPC). His responsibilities included oversight of 13 committee members who worked with 130 educators to peer review the 200 presentations scheduled during the conference. In addition, the ASPC planned every event of the conference from the opening of the House of Delegates on Saturday, March 12 through the closing meeting on Wednesday, March 16.

Dr. Harrison, professor in the Department of Prosthodontics, has helped shape the future of dental education through his service to ADEA. According to Dr. Andrieu, Dr. Harrison has been a model of professionalism to his students and fellow faculty. She chose to honor him because “he is respected by everyone who knows him and he gracefully takes on any role he is assigned. He doesn’t even realize the lives he has positively influenced.”

Another highlight of the meeting for LSUSD was the formal announcement and recognition of Suzanne Farrar as the recipient of the ADEA/Colgate-Palmolive Allied Dental Educator Fellowship. This fellowship promotes the leadership development of an allied dental educator by focusing on a broad range of issues affecting allied dental education. The award includes a $4,000 scholarship.

Speakers at the ADEA conference emphasized that dental education is part of a broader and deeper discussion of health care education. Leadership in dental education, exemplified by Drs. Andrieu, Gallo, Harrison, Ms. Farrar, and the other LSUSD faculty members who attended the conference, translates into dentistry’s positive impact on patient care.

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Last Update 4/2011