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ment for both dentists and allied dental professionals. Experimentation and learning will also help dentistry face one its major uncertainties, namely, whether the future Supply of dental practitioners and services will match, exceed, or fall below population requirements for dental care. That uncertainty is, in large measure, a function of the unpredictability of scientific and technological advances and of social policies affecting access to oral health services. Under these circumstances, contingency planning is stressful but essential.
The committee's specific recommendations are not, in general, highly prescriptive statements about what individual schools should do and how they should do it. Likewise, although concerned about the sources and some of the consequences of the variation across schools, the committee views variation as inevitable and often desirable. Recommendations are not directed at dental educators alone but call upon the entire dental community to work collectively toward improved oral health through more effective education, research, and practice.
Missions of Dental Education and Organization of Report
The central chapters of this report are organized around the three basic missions of dental education: educating practitioners (Chapter 4), conducting research (Chapter 5), and providing patient care (Chapter 6). This organization reflects both the development of the American university and the emergence of the academic health center as a major part of the university.
The European university historically emphasized two missions—education and scholarship. The twentieth century vision of American universities as centers for scientific and technological progress has led the second mission to be widely relabeled—and in some ways profoundly redefined—as research. Service was incorporated as a third mission as the nation successfully harnessed higher education in the service of economic and social development, most visibly through the system of land-grant institutions initiated in the 1860s. With the post-World War II increase in university-based medical research, private and public health insurance, and demand for sophisticated hospital care, the position of the academic health center and the health professions schools rose relative to the rest of the university. Patient care became a distinct mission, one without a clear equivalent in other professional schools such as law and architecture. Thus, although universities speak