The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry (NMD) and the Department of Dental Public Health (DPH) at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) have secured a $1.28 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to create unique online educational resources. Aimed at transforming oral health education for young learners nationwide, this project is called “A Mouthful of History.”
“A Mouthful of History” will offer accessible online education modules that amalgamate health sciences, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics), and humanities. Particularly significant is the project’s breadth, catering to learners from pre-K through to 12th grade.
Given that formal oral health education is often minimal or absent in many states, this initiative integrates oral health and dental career topics into lessons designed to meet existing educational standards. Hence, “A Mouthful of History” will enable educators to promote high levels of oral health literacy without overburdening academic schedules or school budgets. The project aims to ignite young learners’ interest in oral health and inspire them to explore dental careers.
Richard Manski, DDS, MBA, PhD, NMD’s Executive Director and Chair of the Department of Dental Public Health at UMSOD, emphasizes the project’s goal of inspiring children to consider dentistry and other health professions, thereby increasing dental school applicants.
This initiative, the first NIH grant received by NMD, is a multi-principal investigator project led by Manski and Patrick Cutter, MBA, MA, Assistant Director of NMD. It aims to align the missions of NMD, DPH, UMSOD, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), while enhancing community engagement and addressing oral health disparities.
“A Mouthful of History” also complements existing UMB programs such as the UMB CURE Scholars and UMSOD’s Dental Research Experience (D-REX), which expose learners to numerous career opportunities in the oral health field.
The project will create a web portal on the NMD website to host the lessons and resources developed, freely accessible to learners, educators, caregivers, coaches, and community members. To ensure broad reach, each lesson will be translated into multiple languages and made available to dental programs and school systems across the country.
The “A Mouthful of History” project aims to significantly enhance oral health literacy on a national scale, cultivate a pool of potential dental school applicants, and extend the museum’s mission of oral health education from Baltimore to nationwide communities.
About the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry
The National Museum of Dentistry, a Smithsonian Affiliate and the official museum of the dental profession, celebrates the past, present, and future of dentistry while emphasizing the importance of oral health in overall well-being. For more information, visit www.dentalmuseum.com.
About the University of Maryland School of Dentistry
The world’s first dental college, UMSOD, offers superior educational programs in oral health and is part of a thriving academic health center that combines revolutionary biomedical research with exceptional patient care. For more information, visit www.dental.umaryland.edu.