UAB Gets $22.4 Million to Continue Research Network

Dentistry Today


The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Dentistry has received a seven-year, $22.4 million grant from the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) to continue the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN), which was designed to improve the nation’s oral health.

Since 2012, UAB has served as the National Administrative and Resource Center by NIDCR, leading the NDPBRN. The NDPBRN is a consortium of participating practices and dental organizations committed to advancing knowledge of dental practice and practical science, ways to improve it and further benefit real-world, everyday clinical practice, UAB says. 

In this role, UAB leads and oversees six smaller regional research centers located in Birmingham; Rochester, New York; Gainesville, Florida; Minneapolis; San Antonio; and Portland, Oregon.

“The dental practice-based research network is a unique investigative union of real-world practicing clinicians and academic clinical scientists that aims to improve the nation’s oral health by expanding the knowledge base for clinical decision-making and moving the latest evidence into routine care,” said Gregg Gilbert, DDS, MBA, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Clinical and Community Sciences.

“The network is a precious national resource for our profession and our patients, and we are fortunate that NIDCR has invested in the future of our profession,” said Gilbert, who also is the grant principal investigator and national network director. 

Gilbert cites the participation of community practitioners at every step of the process, including serving as authors in peer-reviewed journals and as presenters at national meetings. Furthermore, the network presents a different paradigm for conducting clinical research by making a point of tapping into the practical clinical wisdom that exists in the dental community at large, UAB says. 

“We are thrilled that UAB’s School of Dentistry has been selected to lead this important national research effort,” said Michelle Robinson, DMD, MA, interim dean of the school. “This network gives the everyday clinician a key voice in the science behind patient care. Including this most recent grant, Dr. Gilbert’s network has brought more than $117 million in NIH funding to UAB since 2005.”

In addition to Gilbert, Sonia Makhija, DDS, MPH, associate professor in the Department of Clinical and Community Sciences, will serve as the national director of communications and dissemination, ensuring that research information reaches practices and is implemented.

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