Student Researchers Take Home 2019 SCADA Awards

Dentistry Today


The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and Dentsply Sirona recognized the six winners of the Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application Awards (SCADA) during the IADA/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada, on June 19. With 8,400 participants from 28 countries, 69 student clinicians were engaged in the global program this year. 

Celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, SCADA engages the next generation of dental professionals and inspires students to look for new ways to have a positive impact on dental care and oral health, according to the company. It not only supports them in discovering the importance of dental research, it also offers them expanded networking opportunities with clinicians and scientists from all over the world, Dentsply Sirona said.

“Dentsply Sirona is proud to support the next generation of leaders in dentistry early in their careers. And we sincerely hope this is the beginning of a long and meaningful collaboration with these dental leaders throughout their professional lives,” said Dr. Teresa A. Dolan, vice president and chief clinical officer at Dentsply Sirona. 

“Personally, I am so impressed by the students’ professionalism, intellectual curiosity, and high level of research. Congratulations to all of the participants in this year’s SCADA program! And many thanks to the university deans and faculty advisors for their support of the program,” Dolan said. 

The 57 students from the United States who participated in the competition had previously competed within their respective dental schools before they were selected for the SCADA competition. They presented their research to an international panel of experts in one of two categories: Clinical Research and Public Health or Basic and Translational Science Research.

Patrick Donnelly of the University of Pittsburgh took first prize in the Clinical Research and Public Health category, followed by Deepti Karhade of the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine in second place and Kathleen Schlessler of West Virginia University in third place.

Alexandra Oklejas of the University of Michigan won first prize in the Basic and Translational Science Research category, Quynh Nguyen of the University of Mississippi took second place, and Blake Crosby of the University of Florida came in third.

“Being part of SCADA is not only that you are a part of the competition but also that you collaborate with peers from all around the world. I think my favorite part while being here is that I am realizing that I am not the only one being passionate about the things I am working on,” said Karhade.

“SCADA is really important to demonstrate why research is so important for dental education, because the students have to appreciate that things are changing. Thus, they have to keep looking for the newest advances and have to incorporate them in their practices for the most improved care for their patients,” said Dr. Chuck Schuler, professor and former dean at the University of British Columbia as well as one of the judges. 

Also, the winners of 12 worldwide programs presented their research during the General Session on June 20. SCADA additionally provides fellowship funding to promote continued scholarship and help support education.

Postdoctoral students Dr. Adam Lietzan of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Dr. Nadeem Bjile of the University of Hong Kong received Henry M. Thornton SCADA Fellowships. And, doctoral researcher Dr. Drake Williams of the University of California Los Angeles won the ADA Foundation/Dentsply Sirona Research Award for Dual Degree Candidates. 

The SCADA Board of Directors also acknowledged Dr. Russell Giordano with the Burton C. Borgelt/SCADA Faculty Advisor Award for his commitment to mentoring students at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine as well as dean Sharon Gordon of the University of Connecticut with the Alan J. Davis/SCADA Achievement Award for outstanding service to SCADA and the dental profession.

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