Center for Dental Informatics

Contact: Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD: cdi@pitt.edu For immediate release (07/18/2002)

Center for Dental Informatics organizes NIH-sponsored conference on dental informatics and dental research

PITTSBURGH, July 18 - The Center for Dental Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine recently received funding for a a conference on dental informatics and dental research from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Library of Medicine. The primary purpose of the conference is to develop strategies on how biomedical informatics can most productively contribute to the resolution of dental research problems. This includes identifying dental research issues which might benefit from the application of new or existing informatics methods, and educating dental researchers about biomedical informatics and its capabilities. The conference will bring together an invited group of medical and dental informaticians and dental researchers.

Informatics is crucial for enabling advances in biomedical research, practice and education in the 21st century. As we transition to an information-based society, the ability of dental and craniofacial research to achieve its mission is increasingly predicated on its ability to leverage advances in informatics for its core activities. Informatics must become an integral part of the fabric of dental and craniofacial research. In this context, informatics must be understood not only as a source of new, practical computing applications, but also as an area of scientific inquiry in its own right.

The conference will address two critical challenges for dental informatics. The first one is to define its connection to the global research agenda of dental and craniofacial research. Dental informatics must support the goals of dental and craniofacial research, such as those articulated in the mission of the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research and in the research agenda of the American Dental Association. However, dental informatics is a new field, and most dental researchers are not or not sufficiently aware of what it can do and how it can advance their research. The second challenge is to define the germane research issues for dental informatics with respect to dental research.

This invitation-only working conference will take place on June 12 and 13, 2003, in the Natcher Conference Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Attendees will come from the fields of medical and dental informatics, dental and craniofacial research, the NIH and the corporate sector. The conference Website (www.dentalinformatics.com) will serve as a "meeting place" well in advance of the actual conference The Website will allow the participants and others to contribute to the program development and agenda of the conference. To open the conference to a more global audience, we plan to broadcast parts of the conference through a synchronous Webcast. The conference will be preceded by an intensive preparatory phase that includes the conference Website, background papers, regular e-mail updates to invited and other participants, and electronic discussions about conference topics and issues.

The conference is expected to have positive and stimulating effects on the efficiency and efficacy with which dental research is conducted; the scale and scope of cooperative projects, especially those involving informatics; the sharing of best practices in research and development; and the transfer of research results into practice and education. The $35,000 award is supplemented by funds from dental schools, corporations and other institutions involved in dental research.

For more information or questions regarding this conference, please contact Dr. Titus Schleyer at cdi@pitt.edu or (412) 648-8886. If you (or your organization) maintain a Website, please consider linking to the conference Website at www.dentalinformatics.com.