I had the great pleasure of attending the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Annual Session held recently in Iguacu Falls, Brazil. As you can see from the picture, the falls are spectacular. But more importantly, my visit was an opportunity for me to attend the IADR meeting as a representative of the International Federation of Dental Educators and Associations (IFDEA) as well as Pacific Dugoni. Although it rarely happens, during this meeting I had a great deal of free time that allowed me to sit in on many of the oral presentations. I spent the afternoon attending most of the presentations focusing on implantology and learned quite a bit.
I was particularly struck by how science continues to evolve at such a rapid pace. I feel strongly that all of us should be taking a strong interest in the new discoveries — how they can address age-old problems as well as new problems.
It seems to me we need to continue to always focus on science. We, as teachers and educators, need to ensure we are incorporating the latest findings and, of course, also contributing to the body of research whenever possible. Truly, there should really be no distinction between attending an American Dental Education Association (ADEA) meeting and an IADR meeting. Education and science are deeply intertwined and inseparable — as they should be. As teachers, we want to know the latest research, and, as researchers, we want to know how to best incorporate our teachings in a healthy learning environment – and encourage a new generation of scientific explorers.
I want to encourage all of us to attend future IADR meetings as teachers as well as researchers. One does not need to have a strong background in research, only a desire to learn.
I hope you all are enjoying your break and that when we all return, we will be refreshed, revitalized, and ready to continue teaching, researching and serving the community — and always learning along the way.