dental school faculty to participate in clinical, behavioral, and health services research that will support the missions of education and patient care and will help improve voluntary and governmental oversight of the profession.

The Mission of Patient Care

The typical dental clinic, put simply, is not patient-centered. A procedure-oriented model of care must give way to a model that is patient and community oriented, focused on outcomes, scientifically and technologically up to date, team based, and efficient.

Current trends in health care delivery and financing are requiring academic health centers to compete for patients and for inclusion in managed care plans of various sorts. Whether the patient care activities of the dental school add to or subtract from the overall institution's market position is likely to be an issue in its future. Over the long-term, the committee believes that dental schools have no ethical or practical alternative but to make their programs more attentive to patients as well as more economically viable and to develop the programs and the data needed to document and assess the quality and efficiency of care. They will have to ensure that their activities and objectives are compatible with those of their parent institutions.

The Dental School in The University

To fulfill their missions of education, research, and patient care, dental schools need the intellectual vitality, support, and discipline of universities and academic health centers. In return, dental educators must contribute to university life, especially through research, scholarship, and efficient management of educational and patient care programs.

Overall, the world of higher education is likely to become less stable and thus more unpredictable and stressful for its constituent parts. Universities and government policymakers will continue to reevaluate their programs—adding, deleting, and restructuring them. The closure of several dental schools has made the vulnerability of their relationship to the university clear. Reducing the factors that put dental schools at risk in the university is not an overnight task, and some factors are less subject to a school's influence than others. This makes it all the more important that each school assess its own position and develop a specific plan for analyzing and reinforcing that position within the university.

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