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Science Advocate

February 13, 2014


AADR Applauds CVS for Ceasing Sales of Tobacco Products
On Wednesday, February 5, CVS Caremark President and CEO Larry Merio announced that CVS/pharmacy will stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide by October 1, 2014. "As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners.” He further elaborated that “cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”

The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) applauds CVS for being the first national pharmacy chain to make this ground-breaking decision to cease the sale of tobacco in its stores. For nearly 20 years, AADR has had a policy on the use of tobacco and acknowledges that it is the principal risk factor for oral cancer. It also increases the risk for periodontal disease and decreases the ability of oral tissues to heal. 

Other oral effects include halitosis (bad breath), decreased ability to taste, and increased staining of the teeth. Smokeless tobacco (spit tobacco) is not a safe alternative to smoking tobacco. Tobacco used in either form is harmful to health and should be discouraged. 

As AADR members continue to research and publish on the harmful effects of tobacco on oral health, we urge dental professionals to discourage initiation of tobacco use in any form among their patients and the public, and to facilitate and reinforce cessation among users. We hope the action CVS has taken to end the sale of tobacco in its stores will serve as an example to other pharmacies and that they will join CVS in taking a stand against the sale of tobacco products.

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In This Issue

> Register and Book Your Hotel for the AADR/CADR Annual Meeting & Exhibition
> New! The Fundamentals for Research and Career Success of New Faculty
> Renew Your IADR/AADR Membership
> Complimentary Registration for the 2014 AADR/ADEA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to Close March 24
> IADR/AADR Comment on the NIDCR Draft Strategic Plan
> NIH Announces First Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity
> Analysis of Budget Cuts Impact to Biomedical Research
> Congress Approves Appropriations Bill!
> US Senate Hearing on Federal Travel and Conferences
> Check Out the JDR February Issue Online
> JDR Hot Topics
> Call for Papers in JDR Special Issue
> IADR Accepting Applications for New Behavioral Research Award Aimed to Improve Oral Health Using Social Entrepreneur Approaches – Deadline is March 3, 2014
> New NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements for Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce
> HHMI Summer Medical Fellows Program
> 2014 Call for Applications - Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program
> Call for Applications - 2014 Summer Institute in Clinical Dental Research Methods
> Strides in Science
> Conference on Complex Systems, Health Disparities & Population Health: Building Bridges
> Practice-Based Research in the National Dental PBRN: Translating Research Into Everyday Practice
> Abstracts Submissions Sought for the 5th ADEA International Women’s Leadership Conference
> Read the Science Advocate on your mobile device!
Strides in Science

Robert Spears, M.S., Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and director of curriculum and director of student research at the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. He received his B.S. in biology and M.S. in anatomy from Texas A&M University, and his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Texas A&M System Health Science Center. 

His has focused his research efforts toward the elucidation of signal transduction mechanisms during inflammatory joint diseases using an animal model of adjuvant-induced inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Of particular interest is the role that different inflammatory mediators may play in the process, with emphasis upon the interaction between elements of the immune and nervous system. His research efforts have evolved around the examination of the involvement of proinflammatory cytokines, and recently the potential involvement of the sympathetic nervous system in chronic pain. 

Spears has multiple publications in the area and has been involved in numerous grants. However, a great deal of Spears’ efforts go toward educating students on the importance of dental research and including them as much as possible in getting involved in research efforts. For more than 15 years Spears has demonstrated a remarkable dedication to the Student Research Group at Baylor College of Dentistry, and has also lent his expertise to the AADR National Student Research Group, where he was a faculty advisor for 10 years. 

He spends numerous hours with student researchers and aids in their participation in numerous national meetings. His students have won numerous awards at national meetings and have held offices in the AADR National Student Research Group. In 2012, he was awarded the Mentor of the Year award by the AADR National Student Research Group. 

Spears has been an AADR member since 1987.

What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
The most valuable benefit of my AADR membership is being able to collaborate with other members. Being part of AADR has allowed me to get to know the people in the field one-on-one. So many of the people associated with dental research and AADR are very helpful and supportive. Having those collaborations and friendships through AADR is important, you gain so much by being involved.  

How important has AADR been in your career?
AADR has done so much for me and my career. I think part of the reason I have gotten promotions and tenure within my career is through things I have done with AADR. Being involved in AADR has allowed me to fulfill a lot of my research requirements and as a faculty member I’m also expected to give back to the field. Additionally, through AADR I have an international reputation and more exposure, and I’ve met people through AADR who have written recommendation letters for me.  Without my involvement in AADR and the help I’ve received from the organization, there’s no way I’d be doing what I’m doing today.

How important do you think cross-collaboration with other scientific disciplines is to the future of dental, oral and craniofacial research?
I think it’s very much where the future is going. One of the buzz words right now in dental education is inter-professional education. Whether you want to think of it as inter-professional or multiple-collaborations, I think what we’re starting to see a similar trend in research where it strengthens your career proposals and your research. The more you think of yourself along the lines of research and be involved in other sciences you will open yourself up to more collaborations, which ultimately will help to answer the questions we’re all asking. 

What is the best way for AADR members to become more involved in the Association?
I think one way people can get involved is to attend the AADR and IADR meetings, and attend the IADR Scientific Group/Network meetings. It’s important to join and be active in the Scientific Groups/Networks to meet people who have the same likes and interests as you. If you’re planning to attend an AADR/IADR meeting, present your research so that you gain some visibility or chair a session. There are all sorts of ways for members to be active in this organization, just don’t be shy about pursuing those opportunities.

What’s a message you want to give to future dental researchers to help them be successful?
I think dental research is like most things in life: you get what you put into it. From a faculty standpoint, one of the expectations of us is that we give back to science by getting students involved, showing them what they can gain and help them pursue research, which can only benefit dental research. When you’re on the outside looking in as a student, entering the field of dental research can be intimidating. Really all it takes for a lot of students is encouragement and we need to continue to show them how exciting it is to be part of a scientific discovery that makes a difference in patient care, science and technology. Our students are the next generation of dental researchers and educators. If we don’t help them get involved and see their potential that they can have and contribute to AADR, we’re never going to get anywhere as a science.
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