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Following inception in 2005 as a multiregional practice-based research network (PBRN), the “National Dental PBRN” expanded nationwide in 2012, and in 2019 implemented additional organizational changes. The objectives are to: (1) describe the new structure and function of the network; and (2) quantify its scientific productivity since 2005.
A national Administrative and Resource Center is based in Alabama; regional and specialty nodes are based in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, and Texas. A Network Coordinating Center is based in Oregon. Studies are funded via investigator-initiated grants. Scientific productivity is assessed using specific metrics, including the Relative Citation Ratio.
To date, 58 studies have been completed or are in data collection or development. These studies have investigated a broad range of topics using a wide variety of study designs. Of the studies that have completed enrollment, 70,665 patients were enrolled, as were 19,827 practitioners (some participated in multiple studies), plus electronic records for 790,493 patients in two data-only studies. To date, these studies have led to 193 peer-reviewed scientific publications in 62 different journals. The mean (1.40) Relative Citation Ratio of Network publications connotes a greater-than-average influence in their fields.
These metrics demonstrate that the PBRN research context can successfully engage practitioners and patients from diverse settings nationally with a high and sustained level of scientific productivity. This infrastructure has enabled clinical scientists in oral health and nonoral health topics and provided additional recruitment venues outside of the typical academic health center research context.
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