Realistically, not every predental student will have the opportunity to participate in dental research as an undergraduate. However, it is possible for predentals to find other ways of engaging in dental research and learning about topics relevant to their future profession. With a committed and inquisitive group of students, you can start a dental research journal club. Last spring, we did just that at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and started the “Embracing Dental Research Journal Club,” which meets about twice a month to read and discuss dental research articles.
If you think this might be something you’re interested in doing at your own undergraduate university or college, I have some advice.
- First, find a partner to help you start your new student group. I was lucky enough to find a wonderful and dedicated co-chair that I worked with to start the new journal club at UNC.
- Second, gauge interest among fellow predentals. You’ll want to be sure there is an interest at your school.
- Third, find a faculty adviser and seek official recognition of your new group from your institution.
After taking these initial steps, you will be ready to schedule your first meeting and start selecting dental research articles from peer-reviewed journals for the group to read. Though meeting structures may vary, our journal club meetings at UNC consist of a presentation of relevant vocabulary and answering discussion questions. Staying true to our club’s name, our meetings allow predental students to embrace relevant topics in dentistry.
Do you think an organization of this kind would benefit the predental students at your school? Leave a comment and let us know!
To read our mission statement and see what we’ve discussed so far, please check out our organization’s webpage.
~Abby Becherer, predental