The purpose of the University of Utah School of Dentistry is to improve the health of the community through education, research and clinical service. Consequently, we recognize the vital role of research in the discovery, development and eventual translation of new biomedical knowledge and have made research and its attending outcomes integral to this School of Dentistry. In order to achieve this, our dental graduates are expected to: 1) be competent in assessing the research process, 2) conduct critical thinking and problem solving, 3) develop and assess ‘best practices’ in the dental care they render and 4) be prepared to provide relevant dental health services well into the twenty-first century. To this end, the University of Utah School of Dentistry is integrated with the University of Utah Health Sciences and their outstanding tradition of biomedical research and translational philosophy. Thus, the research program in the dental school is designed to foster collaborative efforts with investigators and clinicians throughout the University of Utah Health Sciences to optimize the application of unique resources and scientific expertise for both dentistry students and faculty in order to identify and address problems related to issues of oral health.
Few dental schools are located in a research-rich institution such as the University of Utah. To take advantage of these unique research opportunities to conduct dental-related research, faculty members at this School of Dentistry are encouraged to conduct interdisciplinary scholarly activity by interacting with established institutional programs such as the following:
- The Huntsman Cancer Institute (a world-leading research and treatment center for cancers of all types including those associated with oral structures)
- The Utah Population Data Base (a world-renowned, uniquely powerful data base to conduct biomedical genetic research related to dental issues based on genealogical and medical records of stable, large and cooperative families associated with the Utah and Intermountain region)
- Research-intense School/Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing (considered among the nation’s leading research institutions with 570 federally funded [large majority NIH] grants)
- Primary Children’s Hospital and their associated pedodontic residency program: this program provides unique opportunities to conduct pediatric-related research
- The General Dental Residency Program: this hospital-based residency program (10 residents) offers a unique opportunity to conduct dental-related clinical research
- The Utah Addiction Center: this center facilitates interdisciplinary research in substance abuse issues, such as tobacco and alcohol dependency and affords an opportunity to work with the School of Dentistry faculty to address research questions relevant to dental practice.