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2024 Meeting of South Central Practitioners

Earlier in April, the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) held its 2024 Annual Meeting for practitioners from the South Central Region. This event was an opportunity for dental practitioners to come together, learn, and network. The meeting was open to National Dental PBRN Practitioners from across the South Central Region, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The meeting took place at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, and kicked off on Friday, April 5, 2024, with opening remarks by Joana Cunha-Cruz, DDS, PhD, from the UAB School of Dentistry. Several practitioners were recognized for their contributions to recent studies- Dr. Hasnani, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Snell.

Dr. Deidra Snell, the Most Valuable Practitioner (MVP) Award winner, is associated with Ridgewood Smiles Dentistry in Jackson, MS. She completed her B.S. in Biology and Biochemistry at Alcorn State University and her DDS and GPR at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She is a clinician-educator for UMMC School of Dentistry and serves on the board of several dental organizations as well as being an AGD Regional Director for Region 12.

Dr. Letitia Williams, who received the Most Perseverant Practitioner Award, operates her practice in Union Springs, AL. She earned her B.A. in Zoology and D.D.S. from Howard University and holds a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Samford University. She is a member of the ADA, National Dental Association, and Phi Beta Kappa, and serves as a religious leader in her community.

Dr. Kaz Hasnani, the recipient of the Most Proactive Practitioner Award, is a part of Sequatchie Valley Dental Associates in Jasper, TN. He holds a B.S. in Genetics and a DMD and has completed a Fellowship in Public Health Dentistry. He is an active member of several dental associations.

This was followed by a keynote speech by Dr. Nico Geurs, a periodontist, researcher, interim Dean of the UAB School of Dentistry and the Chair of the UAB Department of Periodontology. Dr. Geurs presented about the success rates of prosthetics placed over dental implants. The day concluded with a meet-and-greet session, where attendees could view network research posters and enjoy a dinner buffet.

The program on Saturday, April 6, 2024, began with a continental breakfast, followed by a general session. During this session, Dr. Ashraf Fouad, Dr.  Gregg Gilbert, and Dr. Joana Cunha-Cruz gave their plenary presentations. Dr. Cunha-Cruz, a public health researcher with dental and epidemiology degrees as well as the Network’s Director of Communication and Dissemination, presented the Periodontal Adjunctive Antibiotics Study (PAAS), the Network’s latest study. Dr. Gilbert, the National Dental PBRN Network Director, James R. Rosen Endowed Chair of Dental Research, and UAB distinguished professor, presented the Post-Operative Pain Study (POPS).

One of the highlights of the meeting was Dr. Ashraf Fouad’s, endodontist and UAB School of Dentistry professor, plenary presentation on pulpotomy. Dr. Fouad’s presentation debunked myths in the management of deep dental caries and presented evidence for pulpotomy as a solution for permanent teeth with pulpitis. This presentation was a significant contribution to the meeting, providing valuable insights and sparking engaging discussions among the attendees.

The meeting also featured several breakout sessions, which dove deeper into the topics introduced in the plenary presentations. These sessions provided attendees with a more detailed understanding of the plenary topics, two of which are active Network studies.

The 2024 Annual Meeting of the National Dental PBRN Practitioners was an enriching and engaging event, offering a blend of learning and networking. The alignment of the plenary presentations with the breakout sessions allowed for a comprehensive exploration of each topic, enhancing the educational value of the event.

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