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J Dent Educ. 2012 Mar;76(3):279-87.

Social media in dental education: a call for research and action.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry and Comprehensive Care, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Social media are part of the fabric of today's world, from which health care is not excluded. Based on its distribution capacity, a single individual can cause an amount of damage to an institution that only a few decades ago required access to a mainstream news media outlet. Despite the obvious parallels in professional standards in the medical and dental communities, the scholarly activity and resulting collegial discourse observed among medical professionals remain unmatched in the dental education literature. As a result, a rigorous research agenda on the topic is indicated. Once these results are evaluated and thoroughly vetted, actions should be tailored to address the needs, minimize the threats, and maximize the opportunities that have been already noted by the medical profession. Regardless of input, albeit internal or external, a cadre of individuals who are willing to develop philosophy, policy, and procedure related to the use of social media policies in dental education can then be identified to evaluate the issues unique to the institution and perhaps the profession.

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