The future of dental education will be shaped, in part, by scientific, technological, political, and economic factors that are largely beyond the profession's control. Nonetheless, dental educators—individually and collectively have important choices to make. They may attempt to preserve the status quo in effect, a path toward stagnation and eventual decline. Alternatively, they can choose a more difficult path of reassessing and renewing their missions of education, research, and patient care so that they contribute more and more visibly to the university and the community. Taking this latter path will require more vigor in implementing long-standing recommendations for educational reform as well as attention to new issues and objectives. For dental educators to pursue change successfully, they will need the active cooperation of the larger dental community as well as support from university officials and state and national policymakers.
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