The National Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (the “network”) received a 3-year grant from the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA), of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The majority of the $824,000 grant is funded by IMHA, with support provided by CDA, the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry, The Network for Oral and Bone Health Research (RSBO) and the 10 Canadian dental schools.
As one of several network collaborators, CDA will be involved in developing a communications strategy to engage and strengthen ties with partners, including clinicians, professional organizations and patient advocacy groups. Dr. John O’Keefe, CDA director of knowledge networks, will lead the creation of a Knowledge Translation Council for the network. “We are delighted to be able to provide support in-kind for the network,” says Dr. O’Keefe. “JCDA is uniquely positioned to provide knowledge translation for Canadian dental schools, and this a wonderful opportunity to enrich our ongoing interactions with dentists—making connections between research and practice.”
This venture will bring together oral health researchers from all 10 Canadian dental schools and provide an opportunity to link oral health researchers with one another, with researchers from other health disciplines and with those interested in the research outcomes, such as policy makers, representatives from industry and the public. Dr. Debora Matthews of Dalhousie University and Dr. Dennis Cvitkovitch of the University of Toronto, co-principal investigators of the grant, believe that the interactions and knowledge generated by these collaborations will ultimately contribute to improving the oral health of Canadians.
“Canada is home to a number of internationally known oral health researchers. Until now, however, most have worked individually or in small groups,” says Dr. Matthews. “Although there are known links between oral disease and overall health, oral health research has traditionally focused on oral diseases in isolation from diseases of the rest of the body. By improving linkages across research disciplines, the network will allow us to pool our intellectual and physical resources and stimulate the creativity needed to develop innovative oral health interventions.”
The network has 2 major goals: 1) to develop and support research infrastructure to facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary research teams, and 2) to promote knowledge transfer and translation among researchers, policy makers, dental professionals and the public.