Erin Ealba Bumann is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences in the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Dentistry. She is also a member of the Center of Excellence in the study of dental and Musculoskeletal Tissues and the Doctoral Faculty. Bumann received her B.S. in Anthropology/Zoology and D.D.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and her Ph.D. in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences from the University of California, San Francisco. Bumann conducted post-doctoral training in craniofacial biology and completed her residency and M.S. in pediatric dentistry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Part of her Ph.D. and all of her post-doctoral training were funded by a National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research K08 and L40 Pediatric Research Loan Repayment Program. Bumann is a Past President of the AADR National Student Research Group and served on the Edward H. Hatton Awards Committee for AADR and the Constitution Committee for IADR.
1. How did you first learn about AADR and what motivated you to join? What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
I first learned about AADR while doing research during my undergraduate training. I was motivated to join to be able to share my research, meet others interested in dental, oral and craniofacial research, and to learn more about a career in research. The most valuable benefit of my AADR membership is the opportunity to have an impact on dental research as a whole. Whether that is advocating for increases in funding, helping to address research questions that span the globe, or building relationships international colleagues and friends.
2. What is the best way for other members to become more involved in AADR?
Step up and volunteer! There are so many opportunities for members to become more involved at AADR. AADR Committees, Groups, Sections and Networks – apply to become part of their leadership, submit a workshop or symposium with the support of your group or network, support a student, chair a session or lead a poster discussion. Also during the annual meeting stop by a poster that does not relate to your direct line of research and ask a question or show up to meetings on topics that interest you on an association-wide level. I have met new collaborators and mentors through all of these routes and all have enriched my professional and personal goals.
3. You served as the President of the AADR National Student Research Group (NSRG). How did you first get involved with the NSRG? How has that experience impacted your career?
All student members of AADR are NSRG members! So when I attended my first AADR meeting I was able to attend all of the NSRG events. It was great to be surrounded by so many students that were interested in research. I felt empowered by the NSRG and knew that I wanted to give back to the group and become more involved. So with the support of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry I ran for and was elected for President of the NSRG. During my tenure, we were able to secure the first student voting position on the AADR Board of Directors. My experience on the NSRG Board has greatly impacted my career. I was able to find so many mentors, including some at the University of California, San Francisco where I would later obtain my Ph.D. I have also stayed in touch with many members of the NSRG Board, some even attended my wedding. It has provided me a community of colleagues and friends that helped to support me along the way. I have also been able to help and mentor others who came after me in their training and career goals.
4. You are also involved with the AADR Government Affairs Committee. Why did you decide to get involved? Why is it important for other AADR members to engage in AADR advocacy efforts?
I was honored to be asked to serve on the AADR Government Affairs Committee since our voice in legislative affairs and advocacy is so critical to support the future of our profession. I learned so much from the Chair, Dean David Johnsen, as well as the AADR central office staff. It is so important for all of us to work together to have our voice heard. We need to make sure that our voice is unified, clear and consistent. Not all researchers relish the idea of going to Washington, D.C. but AADR has many tools in place to make communicating with Members of Congress simple and easy.
5. What do you want to see in the future for AADR?
I want to see AADR be the preeminent organization that propels the dental research community to create the most collaborative, impactful and timely research. One way I think AADR could do this is by changing the structure of our annual meeting. Currently many of our scientific sections have topic-focused meetings outside of our AADR annual meeting. To encourage the most investigators as possible to attend the AADR annual session, I see AADR holding more symposium-like events that have sponsorship by at least three scientific sections that last a longer span of time to allow for more cross disciplinary discussion and interaction. The AADR annual meeting is the ideal venue to hold these critical cross-disciplinary discussions that might not otherwise occur on an annual basis. These presentations and discussions will have the potential to lead to cutting-edge ideas and research that will help NIDCR to set future priorities. A focus of AADR will be placed on developing more collaborations between investigators and introducing new techniques with their use across multiple scientific sections. Additionally, all keynotes speakers will be outside of the field of dental, oral and craniofacial research, and plenary talks will continue to bring leading edge researchers to present. Outside of the annual meeting, we must continue ways to increase advocacy for research funding, locally and nationally, by identifying the best ways to support our members to do so. AADR should also continue to lead in mentorship initiatives and support diversity and inclusion activities. With diversity of researchers comes a diversity of ideas.