Spring 2005 Table of Contents
     
Message from the Dean
 

Dean Michael C. Alfano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"No man is an island, entire of itself." John Donne

In a new book entitled The Power of We: Succeeding Through Partnerships, business executive and philanthropist Jonathan Tisch reminds us that in today's complex world, no single organization, acting independently, is capable of amassing the resources required to meet all of its goals. While few organizations, he says, have mastered the art of partnering successfully with others, those who have done so possess a powerful tool for achieving advances.

Although NYUCD continues to be a work in progress, we have made enormous strides over the past several years, thanks in large part to our commitment to "the power of we." And so we devote this issue of Global Health Nexus to the ways in which NYUCD is expressing its commitment to bringing people and organizations together around common goals to achieve something very much bigger than any one individual or organization could accomplish by itself.

Indeed, virtually all of the major initiatives undertaken by NYUCD in recent years have been fueled by the power of partnerships. The list includes the Oral Cancer Consortium, international outreach, research and educational collaborations, programs cosponsored with the U.S. Army and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and our alliances with the Levin Group and industry, among others. Now, new models of collaboration are underscoring the pivotal role of partnership in advancing NYUCD's vision of becoming the dental institution on earth with the greatest impact on the health of society.

On April 1, NYUCD was awarded a $26.7 million research grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to initiate a Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN). The PBRN grant marks the first time that NIH has allocated funding to identify key outcomes from oral health therapy based not on externally controlled clinical trials, but on outcomes from dentistry performed within the practical world of private practices linked together into a large network of practitioners. It is the largest NIH grant ever awarded to any school at New York University, and we believe that it is the largest grant ever awarded by the NIDCR.

When the new NIH funding data are released next year, this grant, coupled with all the other research support that our students and faculty have generated over the past few years, will move NYUCD solidly into the top tier of U.S. dental institutions receiving federal research support.

And there's more good news that affirms "the power of we." In March, the NYU Board of Trustees formally approved the incorporation of the NYU Division of Nursing into our College of Dentistry, effective September 1. I am happy to report that this was done in a manner that was sensitive to the concerns of our students, faculty, and alumni, while still allowing NYUCD to continue to innovate in ways that will surely benefit society.

The dentistry and nursing programs will continue to conduct largely independent curricula that fully maintain their accreditation status. Every dentist and every nurse who graduates from our College will be completely qualified to engage in all of the conventional things that dentists and nurses do. Going forward, we will explore research, education, and practice synergies that are highly likely to further broaden and improve education and training for both nurses and dentists. Thus, our students will be getting something more from their education, and they will be able to choose whether or not to use the additional experience as they proceed into various private practice and institutional settings.

Both of these new alliances reflect NYUCD's conviction that a strategy of interdisciplinary teamwork and collaboration is essential if we are to increase healthcare quality and access. In this issue of Global Health Nexus, you can read about both the new dentistry/nursing partnership and the PBRN grant, in addition to a range of healthcare alliances with other partners who also share NYUCD's commitment to aligning one's own interests with those of the broader community.

Today NYUCD finds itself in perhaps the most exciting and innovative era in its history. I hope that you will enjoy reading about the 21st century healthcare alliances that NYUCD prospers within and continues to build, and that you will share the optimism, pride, and enthusiasm that our students, faculty, and staff feel as NYUCD continues to evolve into the leadership dental school of the 21st century.