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Center for Native Oral Health Research

Training and Career Development

Terry Batliner, DDS
A recent Institute of Medicine report suggests that the explicit inclusion of training and educational opportunities for racial/ethnic minorities in investigator-initiated research is essential to the elimination of health disparities. Yet despite recognition of the need to increase the pool of minority investigators, their representation among NIH-funded investigators remains low. For example, in 1999 the NIH supported 35,000 grants; among the PIs, only 9 were AI/AN. In 2002, these disparities remained, with AI/ANs as PIs of 53 RO1s (0.1% of total), 4 NIH Training Awards (0.2%), and 10 NIH Career Awards (0.3%).


Provide training and career development opportunities in the culturally appropriate investigation of AI/AN oral health issues, and increase the number of AI/AN investigators through intensive mentorship within the CAIANH and other educational and networking activities.

Specific Aims

  1. Establish and/or expand collaboration with programs that currently offer training opportunities for health professionals at various states of preparation;
  2. Enhance the capacity and commitment of these programs for research to address oral health disparities; especially those specific to AI/ANs;
  3. Increase the representation of AI/ANs among the trainees in these CU instructional programs;
  4. Facilitate the support the transition of AI/AN trainees through the career development pipeline; and
  5. Increase the number of AIAN investigators capable of securing external sponsorship for oral health disparities research in this special population.


The Training and Career Development program will work in partnership with various levels of educational institutions (i.e., high school schools, undergraduates, dental students, post-doctoral). We intend to maximize opportunities for peer learning by ensuring that students at various stages in their educational careers will have occasion to interact with students at other levels.


Dr. Batliner heads the Training and Career Development program for CNOHR. He often speaks to American Indian high school and middle school children in Colorado and other states.  Through involvement in the Denver American Indian community, he identifies promising AI students interested in research.


Visiting Faculty

Dr. Elaine Davis will be completing her sabbatical at CNOHR. Elaine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a PhD in educational psychology. She is a Full Professor in the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. She has taught in the areas of statistics, behavioral sciences, professionalism and ethics. Her current research focuses on dental student attitudes toward health care screening and monitoring. From 1993 to 2013, she served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the dental school. She is an active member of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), and currently serve on the administrative board of the ADEA Council of Sections. She is also a member of the American Educational Research Association, American Public Health Association, and American and International Associations for Dental Research. She is an associate member of the American Dental Association, and served four years on the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure's Committee on Educational Measurements and Testing. She is a statistical reviewer for the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry and an occasional reviewer for the Journal of Dental Education.​

Current and Past Students

In response to the NIH/NIDCR Announcement of “ARRA” Recovery Act funds for “Administrative Supplements Providing Summer Research Experience for Students and Science Educators,” an administrative supplement was submitted and approved which funded the support of two summer dental students Amanda Campbell and Kendra Velasquez, at the School of Dental Medicine (SDM) for 2009. Amanda Campbell is a Native woman of Cherokee and Yup’ik (Alaska native) descent. She graduated from Dental School in 2013. Kendra Velasquez, a female of Hispanic descent, grew up in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She graduated from Dental School in 2013.

In 2010, Joaquin Gallegos and Kimberly Lind joined CNOHR team as student workers. Joaquin is from the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Pueblo of Santa Ana. He graduated from Public Health (BS) undergrad at the University of Colorado Denver. Kimberly Lind completed her Masters of Public Health degree and is now a PhD student at University of Colorado Denver.

In 2012- 2013, Jessica Vergel De Dios a Master's students at the Regis University completed her internship at CNOHR. 
In 2013 - 2014, Emily Jones and Danielle Cianciolo from Regis University completed their internship at CNOHR.
In 2014, Taavish Sharma, a second year student at Harvard Dental School completed a summer internship and a research project at CNOHR.

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