According to an article on NewsReleaseWire.com, the AAO is conceiving and implementing long-term, sustainable strategies to resolve problems related to orthodontic education, with special emphasis on orthodontic faculty retention and recruitment. Several initiatives are being implemented, with more planned before the end of 2007.
"All of dentistry has been challenged by the crisis in education," William C. Gaylord, DDS, MSD, the president of the AAO, said. "So that we, as a specialty within dentistry, could see how this affects orthodontics, the AAO formed a Task Force on Recruitment and Retention of Faculty. After in-depth study and consultation with graduate education experts from dental specialty organizations, we feel we are on the threshold of reversing this multifaceted crisis within orthodontic education and are announcing the implementation of several initiatives now. More will be forthcoming by year’s end."
Raymond George, Sr, DMD, is chair of the Task Force and president-elect of the AAO. "We are pleased that the AAO Board of Trustees has approved and funded several new initiatives to build on the first that was put in place last year when the AAO provided $2 million to augment salaries of full-time faculty members of accredited postdoctoral orthodontic programs in the US and Canada," George said.
Among the new initiatives is the AAO’s commitment of $900,000 to support junior faculty fellowships. Fellowships will be funded for up to 5 years. Also, the AAO has designated the Academy of Academic Leadership (AAL) as its master orthodontic education program. AAL is a professional development program designed to prepare dental practitioners and educators for successful academic careers. The AAO will sponsor junior faculty participation in the 2008 AAL for candidates nominated by orthodontic programs. Candidates must be AAO members and must commit to a minimum of 2 years of full-time teaching. Those selected for the program may receive financial support. Full eligibility requirements and application information are available on the AAO Web site. Select the "Meetings and Education" link in the left column, then look for links titled "AAO Full-Time Faculty Teaching (FFT) Fellowship Program" and "AAO Academy of Academic Leadership Sponsorship Program (AALSP)."
The AAO has pledged to augment full-time faculty salaries for those orthodontic programs unable to take advantage of last year’s faculty salary initiative. The AAO is also funding and creating pilot, supplemental orthodontic lecture sessions for a Distance Learning Center. These lectures will be made available to all accredited orthodontic programs to supplement their curriculums as needed.
"These steps will begin to stem the crisis in orthodontic education so that the orthodontic specialty will remain strong and vital well into the future. More initiatives will be announced and implemented in the next several months as we work to measurably reduce the orthodontic faculty shortage," George said.