American Association of Oral Biologists Newsletter

Published at the College of Dental Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina

Volume 1, Issue 1
September, 1993

Letter from the Editors

Last August AAOB President Dr. Robert J. Boackle established a Communications Committee "charged with developing improved methods for our organization to communicate its ideas with regard to Oral Biology in dental education". The members of the committee were Drs. Steven D. London, (Chair), Gill Blackburn and Jerry Pollock. The committee felt that the institution of a Newsletter would improve communication between current AAOB members as well as among interested members of the dental education community. The Communication Committee recommendations were presented to the AAOB membership at the 1993 annual meeting in Chicago both orally and in the form of a letter by Dr. London and are summarized in the minutes on pages 5 and 6.

The first issue of the AAOB Newsletter will hopefully establish a tradition of dialogue and communication among all AAOB members and other members of the dental community interested in the discipline of Oral Biology. An open dialogue of issues of concern to AAOB members has been initiated by Drs. Boackle and Alvares, whose contributions can be found on pages 2 and 3. We have included a copy of the AAOB Bylaws in this mailing to ensure that all members understand the purpose and rules of their association. The status of Oral Biology as of 1983/1984 has been reviewed by Dr. Suddick and is presented in his contributions on pages 7 through 13 (reprint from the J. Dental Education) and pages 14 and 15. Drs. Dowd and Suddick have agreed to update the status of Oral Biology as of 1993. Members of the AAOB are requested to complete the enclosed survey so that the society can compile the data required to assess the current status of Oral Biology, update its membership records, and generate an AAOB directory which we plan to distribute to all members with the next newsletter.

Items of current interest to AAOB members are included in the section "AAOB News" on page 4. The minutes of the AAOB Business Meeting will now be printed in the newsletter, rather than in the society's official journal, Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine. Information on the AAOB membership and recruitment goals are included on pages 16 and 17.

The Editors of this newsletter hope that the AAOB membership will play an active role in future editions. We solicit your input concerning the contents of the newsletter and invite your contributions in the form of letters to the editor, discussions of topics relevant to Oral Biology, and any items which may be of interest to the Oral Biology community. We hope that you find the newsletter informative and look forward to your input.

The AAOB Newsletter
Steven D. London, D.D.S., Ph.D., Editor
John G. Blackburn, Ph.D., Co-Editor

The AAOB Newsletter is published twice a year for the members of the association. Statements in this publication do not constitute an endorsement by the College of Dental Medicine or the Medical University of South Carolina. All correspondence should be directed to Dr. Steven London, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425.

The Widening Gap in Dental Education: A Commentary by Dr. Robert Boackle, Past President of the AAOB

The dental profession is being called to provide care to more and more individuals with complicated medical problems. Often these individuals are receiving several types of medications and/or have debilitating illnesses. As the twenty-first century approaches, the oral biology community will be called to lead dental schools in developing applied basic science (oral biology) curricula which will prepare dentists to better understand modern dental medicine and interact more effectively with physicians when treating patients.

Recently the AAOB National Board Assessment Committee, chaired by Dr. Kathleen Dobrosielsky-Vergona, revealed the sobering fact that with a few exceptions, the National Boards are not examining students for their knowledge of dentally related basic science (oral biology). The oral biology community has an obligation to correct this error and to teach the importance of applied basic science as it relates to the understanding of oral diseases. This cryptic gap in dental education is widening at a time when monetary constraints are causing dental administrators to reformulate their commitments and strategies in regard to the basic sciences. Dental schools are actively seeking sound advice on the best approach to properly educate their students while remaining within budgetary limitations. The oral biology community must respond and advise their administrators to the absolute importance of applied basic science. Perhaps one future goal for the AAOB should be to develop a series of short courses to be presented to dental administrators and faculty. In these courses we could provide practical answers with regard to the teaching of oral biology.

During the past year, Drs. Steven London and Gill Blackburn have volunteered to edit this new AAOB newsletter. This newsletter represents an opportunity for the oral biology community to submit letters to the editor which will be read by dental administrators and fellow scientists interested in dentistry. Members of the AAOB are encouraged to inform the oral biology community and dental of methods, courses, curriculum changes, subject matter, etc., which would aid the advancement of oral biology and the dental profession. At our meeting in Chicago, the AAOB expressed its great appreciation to Dr. Olav Alvares for a superb job as editor of our official journal. Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine will continue to be enthusiastically supported by our organization and provided to every active AAOB member.

On a personal note, I would like to thank the members of the AAOB Board, all of our hard-working committees, the editors of our newsletter, and our past-presidents, Drs. Israel Kleinberg and Richard Suddick, for their devoted service. It has been very rewarding for me to have served as your president and I thank God for each of you.

Letter to the AAOB Membership from Dr. Olav Alvares, Editor of Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine

I am pleased to have this opportunity to share a few thoughts with you, the members of the AAOB, via this newsletter. This is specially directed to those members not familiar with Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine. In the late 80's, I sensed a real need for a vehicle of communication that would provide critical reviews on topics that span the field and discipline of Oral Biology and Medicine. This need was driven by the ever accelerating pace with which new knowledge was being generated, fueled by modern techniques in molecular biology. Personally, I found myself becoming increasingly distant from the advances that were taken place in areas of oral biology beyond the boundaries of my own narrow research interest, a position, perhaps, not unique to myself. And so with some trepidation, tempered by individuals who constituted the editorial board, a commitment was made to launch Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine. The fundamental goal of this journal was, and will continue to be, to provide critical reviews on facets of oral biology that would serve as a valuable resource to researchers, teachers and graduate students in the all encompassing field of Oral Biology. The first issue appeared in print early in 1990 coinciding with the birth of AAOB. The journal was adopted as an official organ of AAOB. By and large, the scientific quality of just about every article has been high due in large measure to the fact that the articles have been authored and peer reviewed by renowned scholars. The feedback I have received on the value and quality of the journal has been encouraging and has helped sustain efforts on this journal. However, after the journal has been in existence for three years, CRC Press and I had to come to grips with the fact that the subscriptions to the journal stood around 190. Obviously publishers can survive only if they can realize a financial profit. On a different level, I felt I owed it to the highly respected authors of these reviews a much wider readership exposure to compensate for the mental energies expanded in generating their contributions. The fact that this was not happening was unsettling. I will not go into the myriad of problems that you probably are aware of that surround the viability of a scientific journal at the present time. It was obvious, that I needed support if the needs of CRC Press were to be met and to increase the readership of a Journal that I as an editor was being told had a lot of merit.

Accordingly, i turned to the AAOB for help. At the 1993 AAOB business meeting in Chicago, with the support of outgoing president Bob Boackle, a motion was unanimously approved to have al l members of AAOB subscribe to Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine. I hope you will not interpret this as an imposition. if you have not seen an issue of this journal I urge you to get a hold of one so you can convince yourself that this is an enterprise worthy of your intellectual support, and one that over the long term, you will find professionally rewarding. The subscription are for members currently stands at $45.00. When you add that to the membership dues the total is still a far cry from what you are paying as a member of the AADR, American Association of Periodontology, American Association of Oral pathology etc., all of which have journal subscriptions included in the membership dues. I hope you will view the journal as an integral part of the scholarly efforts of AAOB, and your subscription to the journal, a tangible expressing of your support for AAOB. I also hope you will not hesitate to convey to me constructive criticisms for improving the journal even further. The AAOB will continue to grow and develop as we the members, individually and collectively, contribute towards and shape its destiny in a deliberate and steadfast manner. I look forward to seeing many of you in Seattle.


1994 AAOB Meeting
The 1994 AAOB meeting will be held in conjunction with the AADS and AADR/IADR meetings in Seattle, Washington on March 9-15, 1994. In addition to the annual AAOB business meeting, a symposium and reception are planned. The AAOB symposium is entitled "New Trends in Oral Biology Education". Details of the 1994 AAOB events will be contained in the next issue of the newsletter.

Changes in 1994 AAOB Dues
Starting January 1, 1994, AAOB dues for full members will include a yearly subscription to the society's official journal, Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine. The dues will be $57.00 per year ($12.00 AAOB yearly dues and $45.00 for Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine. Dues for foreign members will be $88.80 per year in US currency ($12.00 AAOB yearly dues, $45.00 for Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine and $7.95 for shipping per issue. The society asks that all members become current in their dues; members in arrears should refer to Article 2, Section 5 and Article 11, Section 1 of the enclosed copy of the AAOB Bylaws for information relevant to membership status. In addition, it is imperative that all members pay their 1994 dues by January 15, 1994 so that the society can initiate member subscriptions to Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine with the CRC Press. Dr. McNamara, AAOB Secretary/Treasurer, will send dues notices to all members in November of 1993.

Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine
The first Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine issues of the 1994 year will be published during Oct. /Nov. of this year. Dr. Alvares has made arrangements with the CRC Press to send this issue at the time of publication to all current AAOB members in good standing.

AAOB members who currently subscribe to Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine are asked NOT to renew their individual subscriptions with the CRC press. Your 1994 subscription will be continued by the society.

Oral Biology Survey
All AAOB members are asked to complete the enclosed Oral Biology survey. Your responses will provide the society with the information necessary to assess the current status of Oral Biology education. Only one completed survey will be necessary per institution. Thus, if you are at an institution with more than one member, please coordinate your response with your fellow AAOB member(s). however, to ensure the accuracy of our records, we would appreciate all members returning the survey with item 31 (membership information) completed. We will be publishing a membership directory later this year which will be distributed to the members with the next edition of the newsletter.

R e m i n d e r... The 1994 AAOB Meeting will be held in conjunction with the AADS (March 12-15) and AADR/IADR (March 9-13) Meetings in Seattle, Washington,

Minutes of the Annual Business Meeting held on March 11, 1993 at the Fairmont Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

Item #1
Dr. Robert Boackle, President of the AAOB, opened the meeting by extending the Society's appreciation to Dr. Jerry Pollock for serving as its Secretary/Treasurer and welcoming Dr. Thomas McNamara as the new Secretary/Treasurer. He also extended the appreciation of the Society to Drs. Ken Etzel and Joseph Kanapka who were the outgoing Board Members.

Item #2
Dr. Boackle read the report submitted by Olav Alvares, Editor for the Society's Journal, Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine, giving the present status of the Journal and recommendations for future consideration. A letter from Dr. Alvares to the AAOB membership is included in this Newsletter. Dr. Boackle opened the discussion on the topic by suggesting that it be made mandatory for all members of the AAOB to subscribe to the Society's Journal. In a lively discussion which ensued, the following points were made:

  1. The current dues for the AAOB are low and should remain so to encourage members to join.
  2. The Society's publication is an excellent publication and should be one Journal to which all members should want to subscribe.
  3. It was further suggested that it might be possible to obtain some level of industrial support which would help to bring down the present cost of a subscription to the Journal.

    The subscription to the Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine be made part of the membership dues for all Full Members and that students members would have the option of subscribing to the Journal.
    Motion by: Dr. Alvares (by letter)
    Seconded by: Dr. Suddick (by proxy)
    Motion: Passed unanimously

Item #3
Dr. London suggested that the Society institute the publication of a Newsletter. This Newsletter could be issued twice a year, would contain minutes of the Society's meetings, a section on By-laws and could be used to provide notices for the AAOB membership. It was suggested that such a Newsletter would give greater visibility to the Society and that in addition to sending the Newsletter to members, it could also be sent to other Dental Schools and specialty schools, inviting all who are interested to become members of the Society. Circulation of the Newsletter to schools where they currently are no members of the AAOB would contain an open invitation for interested parties to accept membership. Drs. Steven London and Gill Blackburn agreed to take the responsibility for putting together such a Newsletter and mailing it out to members should the Society decide to do so.

Adopt the idea of a Society Newsletter with no limit on the life of the Newsletter. However, each year at the Annual Meeting, there would be an evaluation of its effectiveness and how the Newsletter format may be changed or the Newsletter continued or discontinued.

Motion by: Dr. Dabbous
Seconded by: Dr. H. Kaufman
Motion:6 Passed on a vote of 29 in favor, 1 opposed

Item #4
Dr. Kathleen Dobrosielski-Vergona submitted the report of the AAOB National Board Assessment Committee. Dr. Vergona reported that in the Committee's survey of National Board Examinations, 37% of questions in Anatomy; 6% of the questions in Biochemistry/Physiology; and 13% of the questions i Microbiology/Pathology were considered to satisfy the definition of an Oral Biology question. Based on these results, it was felt that the number of Oral Biology questions in Anatomy were satisfactory. However, there is a great need for an increase in the number of qualified Oral Biology questions to be placed in the Biochemistry/Physiology Section and possibly in the Microbiology/Pathology section. To that end, it was agreed that members should prepare questions of high quality and submit them to Dr. Vergona who could possibly see that they are incorporated into future Board Examinations. Questions prepared for the Biochemistry/Physiology section were to be prepared by Drs. Dabbous, Kleinberg and Kaufman. Questions of an Oral Biology nature to be included in the Microbiology/Pathology section of National Board Examinations were to be prepared by Drs. Boackle, London, and McNamara. Mr. David De Marais, Director, Department of Testing Services for the American Dental Association, has offered to consider any proposals from the AAOB on this matter. The AAOB National Board Assessment Committee plans to review the basic science component in the revised part 2 section of the National Boards before making any further recommendations.

Item #5
Dr. Frank Dowd, Program Officer for the AAOB reported on the preparation for the 1994 IADR Meeting in Seattle, Washington. The suggested topic for the AAOB Program in Seattle was generally agreed upon as being "What does an ideal curriculum of Oral Biology look like?"

Item #6
Dr. T.F. McNamara reported that the current balance of Society funds is approximately $5,100.00. There are some membership dues checks which have not yet been deposited and the Society's balance will be slightly higher.

Item #7
The following members were elected officers for 1993-94:

President Barry Rifkin (New York University)
President-Elect Kathy Vergona (Univ. of Pittsburgh)
Secretary/Treasurer Thomas McNamara (SUNY, Stony Brook)
Elected Directors Michael Dodds (1992-94) (Univ. of Texas)
Ken Izutsu (1993-95) (Univ. of Washington)
Appointed Directors Richard Suddick (Univ. of Texas)
Steven London (Medical Univ. of S.C.)
Past President Robert Boackle (Medical Univ. of S.C.)
Editor, CRC Press Olav Alvares (Univ. of Texas)

With no further business items to be discussed, the meeting was adjourned at 6:00 pm Prepared and submitted by: Dr. T.F. McNamara, Secretary/Treasurer

"Commitment to Oral Biology: Prescription for a New Age in Dental Education", an article by Dr. Richard Suddick, reprinted from the Journal of Dental Education, Volume 48, pages 291-297 (1984) is at this location in the Newsletter.

Table 1. Oral Biology Departments and Graduate Programs 1983

AAOB Membership and Recruitment Goals
The AAOB is a young organization - 1993 marks the conclusion of the five year "formative period" of our association. A number of significant accomplishments have occurred during these years which include the establishment of the AAOB; the ratification of the AAOB Bylaws; the affiliation of the journal Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine as the official publication of the AAOB; the gathering of members at the AAOB annual meetings; and the hosting of the First Scientific Symposium of the AAOB during March, 1991 in Aculpulco, Mexico. The final act associated with the Formative phase of our society will be the permanent inclusion of the AAOB founding members in Article XII of our Bylaws on January 1, 1994.

The profile of the AAOB membership follows. As of August 1993, the AAOB has 140 members. Of the 140, the majority (114) are affiliated with US Dental schools (the distribution of these members is shown in Table 2). In addition, there are 7 non affiliated members, 4 corporate members, and 5 members at US Dental Research Centers. Two Canadian Dental schools are represented by 3 members. There are 5 members affiliated with non-US or Canadian dental schools and 2 non-affiliated members who live outside of the US. of the 54 US dental schools currently in operation, 31 (57.4%) have AAOB members. 21 (38.9%) have two or more members and 10 (18.5%) have one member. However, our records indicate that only 22 (40.7%) of these schools have 1 or more member (s) who are current in their dues.

To further strengthen our society, the AAOB announced a three phase membership drive. The first phase will be member driven. Our first and most direct goal in this phase of the membership drive is to have al members become current in their dues by December 1, 1993. This will ensure our association of a stable membership base and will enable all founding members to be officially in our Bylaws. All AAOB members are encouraged to duplicate the enclosed membership form and invite any non-members at their institution to join our association. Finally, AAOB members are asked to invite their colleagues at non-represented dental schools to join the AAOB by letter which contains a signed membership application form.All new memberships will commence January 1, 1994 and will require payment for the 1994 dues which include the yearly subscription to Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine.

The second phase of the membership drive will be driven by the distribution of printed materials. We plan to distribute posters with the next mailing of the newsletter which will solicit both associate and full member applications. While associate members will not be required to subscribe to Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine., they will be entitled to obtain it at the discounted rate of $45/yr. Associate members will receive the AAOB Newsletter and will be invited to attend all AAOB events. The inclusion of educational opportunities in Oral Biology and articles describing graduate programs in Oral Biology in the AAOB Newsletter will be useful to student members who are contemplating a career in Oral Biology and academic Dentistry.

The third phase of the membership drive will be the extension of our membership to include individuals at American Association of Dental Schools member institutions currently not represented in our association. We will solicit appropriate contacts at these institutions from current members and information contained in the Director of Institutional Members of the AADS. Unrepresented AADS member institutions include those with advanced dental education programs and dental hygiene programs. In addition, we will actively solicit members in those dental school in the US and Canada which remain unrepresented in the AAOB at the time of initiation of this phase of the membership drive. Corporate and foreign members will also be solicited.

Table 2. List of Dental Schools
( ) Number of members at the School

United States
(3) Alabama, Univ.
(4) Baylor Univ.
(2) Boston Univ.
(0) California, Los Angeles, Univ.
(4) California, San Francisco, Univ.
(0) Case Western Reserve Univ.
(0) Colorado, Univ.
(0) Columbia Univ.
(4) Connecticut Univ.
(1) Creighton Univ.
(0) Detroit-Mercy, Univ.
Emory Univ. (closed 1988)
Farleigh Dickinson Univ. (closed 1990)
(5) Florida, Univ.
Georgetown Univ. (closed 1990)
(1) Georgia, Medical College
(0) Harvard Univ.
(0) Howard Univ.
(1) Illinois at Chicago, Univ.
(1) Indiana Univ.
(0) Iowa, Univ.
(0) Kentucky, Univ.
(0) Loma Linda Univ.
(0) Louisiana State Univ.
(2) Louisville, Univ.
(2) Loyola Univ. (closed 1993)
(0) Marquette, Univ.
(0) Maryland, Univ.
(0) Meharry Medical College
(5) Michigan, Univ.
(6) Minnesota, Univ.
(1) Mississippi, Univ.
(3) Missouri-Kansas City, Univ.
(7) Nebraska Medical Center, Univ.
(5) New Jersey Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry
(2) New York Univ.
(1) New York at Buffalo, State Univ.
(12) New York at Stony Brook, State Univ.
(0) North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Univ.
(1) Northwestern Univ.
(6) Ohio State Univ.
(0) Oklahoma, Univ.
Oral Roberts Univ. (closed 1986)
(0) Oregon Health Sciences Univ.
(1) Pacific, Univ.
(0) Pennsylvania, Univ.
(3) Pittsburgh, Univ.
(0) Puerto Rico, Univ.
(5) South Carolina, Medical Univ.
(2) Southern California, Univ.
(0) Southern Illinois Univ.
(0) Temple Univ.
(5) Tennessee, Univ.
(1) Texas Health Sci. Cen. at Houston
(11) Texas Health Sci. Cen. at San Antonio
(0) Tufts Univ.
(0) Virginia, Medical College
(8) Washington, Univ.
Washington Univ., St. Louis (closed 1991)
(1) West Virginia Univ.

(0) Alberta, Univ.
(2) British Columbia, Univ.
(0) Dalhousie Univ.
(0) Laval Universite
(0) Manitoba, Univ.
(0) McGill Univ.
(0) Montreal Univ.
(0) Saskatchewan, Univ.
(1) Toronto, Univ.
(0) Western Ontario, Univ.