The American Association of Orthodontists (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 now being implemented, with more planned before the end of 2007.

“All of dentistry has been challenged by the crisis in education,” said William C. Gaylord, DDS, MSD, AAO president, “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 multi-faceted crisis within orthodontic education and are announcing the implementation of several initiatives now. More will be forthcoming by year’s end.”

Among the initiatives being announced is the AAO’s commitment of $900,000 to support junior faculty fellowships. Fellowships will be funded for up to 5 years.

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 www.aaomembers.org.

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.

[The American Association of Orthodontists, November 9, 2007]