The Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (FNIDCR), a broad-based consortium of oral health research stakeholders, held a congressional briefing titled, “Oral Health Research Advances: A Healthier America Starts Here,” Nov. 21, 2013 on Capitol Hill. FNIDCR held the briefing in cooperation with the Congressional Oral Health Caucus.
The briefing featured experts at the cutting edge of research in preventing, diagnosing and treating Early Childhood Dental Carries and HPV-related Oral Cancer. The significance of NIDCR-funded research in improving our understanding of these diseases, as well as their impact on underserved and vulnerable populations, were highlighted.
“We have to make oral health and oral health research a priority in Washington,” FNIDCR President Dr. Christian Stohler, who moderated the briefing, said. “It is important to elevate awareness of the advances made in oral health research on Capitol Hill, especially during such a critical time when our federal budget is being debated. We sincerely thank the co-chairs of the Oral Health Caucus and their staffs for helping make the briefing a tremendous success as well as the talented researchers who shared with us the latest developments and trends in their research fields.”
Top Researchers Inform Standing Room-Only Audience
The standing room-only audience (109), which consisted of NIH/NIDCR-funded researchers, oral health and dental organization representatives (ADA, ADEA, AADR, ADHA, DTA, NDA, NFED, OHA, Sjogren’s Foundation) Friends of NIDCR members, and congressional staffers received presentations from:
Martha Somerman, DDS, PhD, Director, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (86, 185), who spoke on “Investments in Innovation: Transforming Health Care;”
Anne C. R. Tanner, BDS, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine Infection and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, (157) who presented on “The Oral Microbiome: Progress toward understanding the cause of cavities in toddlers;”
Linda Morris Brown, MPH., DrPH, Senior Research Epidemiologist, RTI International, (95) who spoke on the topic, “Oral Cancer Incidence: Role of HPV in Diminishing Racial Disparities;”
Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, DDS, PhD, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, (146) who presented on “Oral Cancer Incidence in African American Males.”
Caitlin Leach, Senior Program Manager, Research!America, (179, 182) provided a somber assessment about the risk to the leadership role of U.S. in research.
Oral Health Caucus Co-Chairs Give Passionate Support
Furthermore, the audience received passionate and candid remarks from the co-chairs of the Congressional Oral Health Caucus, U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“Discoveries from NIDCR-supported research lead to improvements in dental practices and change the scope of public health policies across our nation,” Congressman Simpson (198, 189) said. “The advances and trends presented at today’s briefing by experts who are on the cutting edge of research in preventing, diagnosing and treating Early Childhood Dental Carries and HPV-related Oral Cancer, were a further testament to the merits of NIDCR-funded research.”
“The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research continues to revolutionize the way we diagnosis and treat disease,” Congressman Cummings (118, 125) said. “Their work is a powerful reminder of the value of our investments in medical research and the real impact on human lives. We must maintain our commitment to this research so that we don't interrupt the important process of translating findings into improvements in patient outcomes.”