The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research will consolidate regional research networks at six sites into a national network headquartered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry.

NIDCR, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a seven-year, $66.8 million contract to unify and operate the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. The regional network program was started in 2005, built from scratch and took time to get up and running smoothly, says Donald DeNucci, DDS, a program specialist at NIDCR. Each network was independent of the other and had its own affiliated practitioners, clinical studies and administrative tasks.

Still, the networks resulted in 51 research studies and 87 journal articles with 1,719 practitioners enrolled in 43 states. The plan now is to expand enrollment in a unified network to 5,000. More information is available here.

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