Washington entities partner for oral health research project

April 12, 2005
Washington Dental Service and Univeristy of Washington join forces for seven-year project, which will be funded by largest grant in dentistry school's history.

Washington Dental Service, the University of Washington School of Dentistry and the School of Dentistry at Oregon Health Sciences University will partner in a seven-year research project to expand the evidence base in dentistry.

The studies are funded by two grants -- totaling $22 million -- awarded the
University of Washington by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial
Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Washington Dental Service, a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association and Washington state's leading dental benefits provider, will be providing 12
years of data on treatments from WDS member dentists as a critical part of the research studies.

"Washington Dental Service is pleased to be playing a major role in this
significant practice-based research," said James D. Dwyer, president and CEO of Washington Dental Service. "Employers will benefit from this
collaboration as WDS incorporates the outcomes of this research into our dental plans."

The grants will establish a 150-dentist network across five states --
Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah. The network will be called
Northwest PRECEDENT, short for the Northwest Practice-based Research
Collaborative in Evidence-based Dentistry.

The money will also cover the development of a coordinating center to enroll patients in clinical studies through local dentists' offices. Over the seven years, 15-20 clinical studies will be conducted. Research topics will be suggested by the dentists participating in the network.

Dentists in private practice will be involved in developing the research
questions, as well as doing all of the clinical treatment. Because the
research will include private practitioners in their own offices, adoption of the
study's findings should be accelerated.

"One of the unique strengths in our proposal was our relationship with
Washington Dental Service researchers and our access to the substantial
body of information in the Washington Dental Service dental data
warehouse," said Dr. Timothy DeRouen, the principal investigator and chair
of the research network. DeRouen is executive associate dean for research and administrative affairs at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, and professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

"The significant repository of information on treatment patterns and their
effectiveness from the WDS data warehouse will be used to formulate
relevant questions, help establish protocols for the studies based on actual
treatments and assess the outcomes of different combinations of treatment," said Dr. Martha Somerman, dean of the UW School of Dentistry.

Washington Dental Service, a founding member of the nationwide Delta Dental Plans Association, is the state's leading dental insurance company, covering more than 2 million people nationwide through employer-sponsored dental programs.

For 50 years, Washington Dental Service has been delivering high-quality, health-centered dental care. For more information, visit the Washington Dental Service Web site at http://www.deltadentalwa.com/.

Delta Dental Plans Association, based in Oak Brook, IL, is a national network of independent not-for-profit dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 46 million Americans in more than
80,000 employee groups throughout the country.