The Center for Oral Health Research (COHR): Vision
The Center for Oral Health Research (COHR) at the College of Dentistry of the University of Kentucky was officially approved by the UK Faculty Senate on March 6, 2000. This action brings into reality an initiative started by the administration and faculty of the UKCD in 1997. It creates a focus and research infrastructure for the College, which links it with the Medical Center and the larger UK academic environment. Moreover, it will help to position the UKCD as a leader in accomplishing the goal of UK to become a top 20 institution by 2020.
Associated with the UK strategy to increase it's national research competitiveness, the past strategic plan 2006-2009 and current strategic plan (2009-2014) the University of Kentucky and the College of Dentistry have emphasized research as a primary mission. As such there is a specific goal in this startegic plan enunciated as "Promote Research and Creative work to Increase the Intellectual, Social, and Economic Capital of kentucky and the World Beyond its Borders". To continue progress to sustain this function, two primary obejctives are implemented by the COHR:
• Enable the Center for Oral Health Research (COHR) to support multidisciplinary basic, applied, clinical, translational, and epidemiological research that extends across the University of Kentucky campus
• Recruit and retain faculty who have both clinical and research training.
The COHR has now been functioning for over a decade, with a continued participation of quality research faculty and excellent support staff for all aspects of grant preparation, submission, and management. The combination of these excellent personnel in updated clinical and basic science research facilities has enabled the COHR to obtain 10 years funding for a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence from the National Center for Research Resources at the NIH. In addition, this has contributed to annual total research funding of approximately $6 Million. Moreover, the success of the research faculty recruited to the COHR has enabled enhanced scholarly activity across the College of Dentistry, greater numbers of predoctoral dental students and undergraduate students involved in oral health sciences research, and an increase in the number of visiting faculty and post doctoral fellow contributing to the robust research environment. As in all activities of this sort, there is a continual need for renewal and refocusing of research emphasis to enhance the national stature of the UKCD programs. Finally, over the last 4 years, the COHR has taken a lead in reinvigorating the dental school outreach and engagement programs, to engage children and adults in nearly ½ of all of Kentucky counties across the state. This relationship continues to integrate dental services, whereby UKCD programs function as a safety net within its land grant mission, with targeted health services research related to our goals as a top 20 research institution.
Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Ph.D.