TABLE 10.1 Recapitulation of Guiding Principles


  1. Oral health is an integral part of total health, and oral health care is an integral part of comprehensive health care, including primary care.
  2. The long-standing commitment of dentists and dental hygienists to prevention and primary care should remain vigorous.
  3. A focus on health outcomes is essential for dental professionals and dental schools.
  4. Dental education must be scientifically based and undertaken in an environment in which the creation and acquisition of new scientific and clinical knowledge are valued and actively pursued.
  5. Learning is a lifelong enterprise for dental professionals that cannot stop with the awarding of a degree or the completion of a residency program.
  6. A qualified dental work force is a valuable national resource, and support for the education of this work force must continue to come from both public and private sources.
  7. In recruiting students and faculty, designing and implementing the curriculum, conducting research, and providing clinical services, dental schools have a responsibility to serve all Americans, not just those who are economically advantaged and relatively healthy.
  8. Efforts to reduce the wide disparities in oral health status and access to care should be a high priority for policymakers, practitioners, and educators.

to prevention. Others need to be reinvigorated, reformulated, or even replaced to prepare the profession for the future. Table 10.1 summarizes the key principles that guided this committee's work.

In considering the future of dental education, the committee had three basic tasks. One task was understanding and describing the current system and its evolution. A second task was trying to assess the forces that would shape dental practice and education in the future. The third was to draw conclusions about the reasonable and desirable steps that dental educators and others should take to capitalize on the positive opportunities before the profession and minimize the negative consequences of change.

Each of the preceding chapters has presented the results of the committee's work. This final chapter reviews the committee's findings about the key trends that will shape dental education and dental practice in the future, considers how the field is positioned to manage that future, and summarizes the committee's recommendations. A list of the formal recommendations is included in the summary at the beginning of this report.

Trends and Developments

The broad scientific, economic, social, and other forces that will shape dental practice are, for the most part, clear. Much less predictable are the magnitude, timing, scope, and details of devel-

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