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A leadership convergence

Dr. Rena D'Souza

Dr. Rena D'Souza, chair of biomedical
sciences, testifies on Capitol Hill on March 29,
just one week after her induction as president of
the American Association for Dental Research.

Photo courtesy
Dr. Christopher Fox,
International Association for Dental Research

Two faculty members, two national organizations and a first for TAMHSC-BCD

It was a late March afternoon when Dr. Gerald Glickman gave his incoming address as president of the American Dental Education Association in a ballroom at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

Just days later and less than 100 miles away, Dr. Rena D’Souza was installed as president of the American Association for Dental Research during the organization’s 2012 annual session at the Tampa Convention Center.

The occasion is one for the dental school’s history books. For the first time, two current, full-time Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry faculty members simultaneously hold the presidencies of both AADR and ADEA. In fact, as D’Souza points out, it’s the first time the leaders of both highly influential dental organizations are separated by — literally — one floor, which gives her hope that AADR and ADEA can collaborate on mutual goals. 

So what happens now?

Chairs D’Souza and Glickman — of biomedical sciences and the Department of Endodontics, respectively — have served their organizations for the past two years, most recently as president-elect, so when it comes to their goals for AADR and ADEA, each of them has a sharper focus than ever before. 


AADR served as D’Souza’s ‘window to the world’ during her years as a developing faculty member. That fact may explain her zeal for strengthening its membership, reaching out to dental schools that lack research infrastructure and developing opportunities for junior researchers to network with seasoned professionals.

“Research and education are inextricably linked to the practice of dentistry,” D’Souza says, which brings her to another goal: seizing the opportunity to work with Glickman, a longtime friend and colleague, on key issues pertinent to both organizations.

Most recently, D’Souza oversaw the organization of the 2012 AADR Annual Meeting and its activities. During the four-day session, she had the opportunity to introduce some of the organization’s newest initiatives.

Read more about D’Souza’s plans for AADR and what the veteran researcher has to say about the state of dental research on a national scale and right here at TAMHSC-BCD.

Glickman’s take on some of the critical issues facing dental education

  1. Student indebtedness – “The bottom line is, the cost of dental education is skyrocketing,” Glickman says. “Because of that, it can impact graduates to want to go into private practice in order to pay off their loans rather than to pursue careers in academia.”
  2. Lack of funding from federal and state governments – Funding is critical to help support faculty hiring and ensure the continuance of a quality dental education.
  3. Curriculum – Predoctoral dental curricula tend to lack integration and innovation.
  4. New knowledge – Modern teaching theories and paradigms must be incorporated into dental education.


It’s a Monday in mid-February and Glickman, on the heels of a two-day readjustment following his return trip from Saudi Arabia — where he was one of the featured speakers at the King Saud 14th International Dental Conference — is back in full swing in the college’s endodontics department.

On the cabinet above his desk is a diorama that reads “Landscape of Learning: 2013 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition.” It bears the image of a tree, and above its branches, in the shape of an arch, are the words ‘reflection, interprofessional education, assessment and innovation.’

Glickman elaborates on its meaning.

“My focus is two-fold,” he says. “The focus essentially will be on lifelong learning and self-reflection. With current students, this means how do we instill in them the lifelong skills they’ll need once they leave?

“We as a profession are concerned about learning once students leave their institutions. We want to provide the tools that motivate students to continue to learn.”

The second focus: working to create vibrant, proactive ADEA student chapters. This means establishing chapters at dental schools without them and further developing those that are already in existence. Currently, TAMHSC-BCD has several dental and dental hygiene student delegates to ADEA.

“Since students represent the majority of the membership of ADEA, we really want to focus on how we can make ADEA more user-friendly for them and help guide them towards careers in leadership, academics and research,” Glickman says.

To learn more about Glickman’s work with ADEA, read this
article from the February/March 2011 Baylor Dental Record Online.

Dr. Gerald Glickman
Before starting his term as
ADEA president, Dr. Gerald Glickman,
professor and chair of endodontics, was
a featured speaker at
the King Saud University
International Dental Conference.  

Photo courtesy Dr. Gerald Glickman