The School of Dentistry at Khon Kaen University, led by Dr. Waranuch Pitiphat, has been awarded a D43 training grant to sustainably strengthen the oral health research capacity among Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) in Southeast Asia. This grant proposes to build upon and expand two established training programs on “Clinical, Public Health, and Behavioral Oral Health Research Training for Thailand” which were awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These programs are joint efforts between the University of Washington School of Dentistry (UW) and affiliated Schools of Dentistry at Khon Kaen University (KKU) and Thammasat University (TU) in Thailand. Dr. Pitiphat, was a major collaborator and Associate Director of the previous training programs.
Investing in research has not only impacted trainees’ career development but enhanced advancement of oral health research of Southeast Asia. The leaders of the previous programs bring in their expertise in research along with their broad experience in working with and providing trainings to a network of international trainees from the region. The KKU and TU faculty members who were previous PhD-level trainees on the previous grants have now graduated, started to conduct their own research, and are ready to pass on their knowledge to the next generations of trainees. The Faculties at both KKU and TU also provide full support to the proposed program and aspire to become a major center for oral health research for the Southeast Asia region. As a result of these capacity building efforts, KKU and TU are now in a position where they could serve as a hub to provide further trainings to Southeast Asian researchers.