Clinical and Community Sciences

Following from the School's vision to lead oral health care, the Department's vision is to comprise the clinical sciences and community sciences component of this vision.

Following from the School's mission to optimize oral health in Alabama and beyond, the Department of Clinical & Community Sciences seeks to improve the oral health of the population through its teaching, service, and research missions.

A key goal for the department is to generate new knowledge to improve care in both the academic clinical setting and in the community, "real world" setting. It is in the community setting where almost all of the population at large receives it dental care. In the academic clinical setting, this research typically involves developing clinical applications for dental care and determining the efficacy of care -- that is, whether a new application works in highly-controlled, ideal settings. In the community setting, this research typically involves determining the effectiveness of care -- that is, whether a new application actually works in "real world" settings wherein clinicians and patients may be operating under a wide range of constraints, motivations, and incentives. The department seeks to bridge research across these two settings, for the benefit of care and research in both settings. It seeks to move applications from efficacy to effectiveness. It seeks to benefit the community setting by moving knowledge from the academic setting to the community setting. It also seeks to benefit the academic setting by moving knowledge from the community setting to the academic setting. Knowledge in the community setting can lead to improvements in the academic setting and can provide ideas for new studies in the academic setting.

Because the department comprises a single unified structure focused on a common mission, it can effectively integrate these functions toward their common goals. The Department integrates these diverse functions via a structure that comprises two Divisions, as well as a master's degree program, an NIH-sponsored national research program, and a biostatistics unit. Click here to view an organizational chart for the department.