Publications by authors named "Lorel Burns"

7 Publications

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Reimagining the pipeline: Saturday Academy at New York University College of Dentistry goes virtual.

J Dent Educ 2021 Apr 23. Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Admissions and Enrollment Management, New York University College of Dentistry, New York, USA.

Purpose/objectives: This study describes and evaluates efforts to transition an established pre-dental pipeline program to a remote platform, in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Methods: The semester-long pipeline program, Saturday Academy at New York University College of Dentistry, was conducted remotely through Zoom, and materials for hands-on, pre-clinical activities, were mailed to participants. Saturday Academy aims to educate underrepresented minority and low-income high school students about the college application process and the dental profession. After the program's completion, program applications and engagement data were analyzed. An anonymous online survey was administered to the high school student participants. The survey questions included topics about their interest in the profession of dentistry, satisfaction with the Saturday Academy programming, and program engagement.

Results: In its remote format, Saturday Academy had an average attendance of 87.8% at each session. All (60/60, 100%) of the high school student participants responded to the anonymous program satisfaction survey. Sixty-seven percent reported an interest in the profession of dentistry before participating in the program and 82% after participating in the program. Ninety-eight percent agreed with the statement "I enjoyed my experience participating in Saturday Academy." Additionally, 97% agreed with the statement "Saturday Academy's virtual programming was effective." There were no statistically significant differences in program satisfaction when data from the virtual program were compared to 2 years of in-person program satisfaction data.

Conclusion: Challenges to fulfilling the missions of dental institutions in response to the coronavirus pandemic impact service and recruitment efforts, in addition to formal dental education. Transitioning pipeline programming efforts, with hands-on components, to a remote format is possible and was met with favorable engagement and responses from program participants.
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April 2021

Assessing the pipeline: Perceived barriers to applying to dental school among pipeline program alumni.

J Dent Educ 2021 Feb 10;85(2):157-165. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Admissions and Enrollment Management, New York University College of Dentistry, New York, New York, USA.

Purpose/objectives: The aim of this study was to increase the understanding of perceived barriers to applying to dental school experienced by underrepresented minority (URM), pipeline program alumni.

Methods: A qualitative study of alumni of New York University College of Dentistry pipeline programs, aimed at increasing the number of URM and low-income students in the dental profession, was conducted in 2020. Focus groups were convened to examine perceived barriers to applying to dental school and identified through a combination inductive and deductive thematic analysis.

Results: Twenty-three pipeline program alumni, ranging in age from 18 to 30 years old, participated in focus groups held between January and April 2020. All students identified as underrepresented minorities and 78% were first generation college students. Fifteen (65%) of the participants had not yet applied to dental school. Eight participants (35%) had applied to dental school, 3 (13%) were currently enrolled in dental school, and 5 (22%) were matriculating into dental school in Fall 2020. The following themes emerged as the most prominent challenges to applying to dental school: pre-health advisors (e.g., lack of knowledge about the pre-dental process and discouragement), and the cost of the application process (e.g., application fees, DAT and DAT preparation course costs, and interview costs).

Conclusion: Through pre-dental pipeline programs, participants have access to informational resources and mentorship; however, despite participation in these programs, perceived barriers are still prevalent. Identification of the alumni's perceived barriers offer targeted areas where increased intervention may be helpful to reduce challenges and strengthen the pipeline.
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February 2021

YouTube use among dental students for learning clinical procedures: A multi-institutional study.

J Dent Educ 2020 Oct 15;84(10):1151-1158. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Department of Restorative Sciences and Interim Dean, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Introduction: The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of YouTube as a learning tool for clinical procedures among third- and fourth-year dental students.

Methods: A multiple choice survey was distributed through Qualtrics to third- and fourth-year dental students at 5 United States dental schools. Questions pertaining to YouTube use were asked related to the following categories: demographic information, general YouTube use, YouTube use as a tool to learn clinical procedures, YouTube video sharing, and validity. Descriptive and quantitative analyses were performed.

Results: Data were collected in 2019 and 2020 from 479 third- and fourth-year dental students (overall response rate 28.3%). Respondents ranged in age from under 23 to over age 50. Ninety-five percent of respondents considered YouTube videos on clinical procedures to be a helpful learning tool, and 89% would like for their dental school to post tutorials to YouTube/social media. No statistically significant differences were found between dental institutions; however, a statistically significant difference between third- and fourth-year students did exist regarding the frequency of YouTube use. While the use of YouTube as a learning tool for clinical procedures is high, 36% of students are uncertain about the evidence-base of the videos.

Conclusions: As dental students use publicly available resources as adjuncts to the dental curriculum, it is important to analyze the quality of the material accessed. These findings may suggest a need for dental institutions to increase the development of evidence-based instructional videos as a part of their clinical educational curriculums.
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October 2020

Targeting the Pipeline to a Diverse Dental Student Body: Saturday Academy at New York University College of Dentistry.

J Dent Educ 2019 Sep;83(9):1057-1064

Lorel E. Burns, DDS, MS, is Assistant Professor, Department of Endodontics, New York University College of Dentistry; Cheryline Pezzullo, DDS, is Clinical Instructor, Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care, New York University College of Dentistry; and Eugenia E. Mejia, PhD, is Assistant Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management, New York University College of Dentistry.

Pipeline programs aim to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities in the dental profession. At New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD), two dental students initiated the development of a pipeline program for high school students called Saturday Academy. The purpose of the program is twofold: to mentor and coach underrepresented minority and low-income high school students through the college application process, and to expose them to the field of dentistry as a viable career option through both didactic and hands-on learning. The aim of this pilot study was to determine outcomes for the first five years (2013-17) of the Saturday Academy pipeline program at NYUCD with regard to the high school students' experience with the program and their career interests after high school graduation. Across five cohorts, a total of 82 students participated in Saturday Academy. A "where are you now?" survey sent to 72 participants who reported high school graduation years between 2013 and 2018 received a response rate of 76%. The survey results showed that all (100%) of the responding Saturday Academy participants had graduated from high school and were enrolled in college, and 71% were interested in health profession careers. Almost half (47%) of the students self-identified as being pre-dental, and 96% reported that Saturday Academy had increased their interest in the dental profession. These pilot results justified an expansion of Saturday Academy at NYUCD in both size and creation of an alumni outreach initiative. Other dental schools may benefit from the strategies used by this program in establishing or expanding their pipeline programs.
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September 2019

Long-term Evaluation of Treatment Planning Decisions for Nonhealing Endodontic Cases by Different Groups of Practitioners.

J Endod 2018 Feb 16;44(2):226-232. Epub 2017 Dec 16.

Department of Endodontics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate changes in treatment planning decisions among different practitioner groups over 7 years for teeth with apical periodontitis and a history of endodontic treatment.

Methods: A Web-based survey was sent to dentists in Pennsylvania in 2009 consisting of 14 cases with nonhealing periapical lesions and intact restorations without evidence of recurrent caries. Participants selected among 5 treatment options: wait and observe, nonsurgical retreatment (NSRTX), surgical retreatment (SRTX), extraction and fixed partial denture, or extraction and implant (EXIMP). In 2016, the identical survey was resent to the original 2009 participants.

Results: In 2009, 262 dentists participated in the survey. Two hundred one participants were general practitioners (GPs: 76.7%), 26 endodontists (ENDOs: 9.9%), and 35 other specialists (prosthodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery [SPECs]: 13.4%) (n = 262). EXIMP, NSRTX, and SRTX were fairly equally selected but with great variation between practitioner groups (χ = 173.49, P < .05). A subset group of 104 participants (SUB) (39.7% of the original participants) retook the survey in 2016 (69 GPs [66.3%], 15 ENDOs [14.0%], and 20 SPECs [19.7%]). Comparisons among practitioner groups were significantly different in SUB (n = 104) for 2009 (χ = 95.536, P < .05) and 2016 (χ = 109.8889, P < .05). Intragroup reliability between 2009 and 2016 revealed no significant differences between the overall treatment planning choices for all practitioners (GPs, ENDOs, or SPECs). Intrapractitioner reliability showed many treatment planning decision changes on an individual level. Chances that individuals changed their original decision were 47.8% (95% confidence interval, 45.2%-50.4%) and were significantly different among the 3 practitioner groups (GPs > SPECs > ENDOs [χ = 11.2792, P < .05]). No significant changes were observed in the decision for tooth saving versus replacement treatment options (P = .520).

Conclusions: No significant differences were noted between current and past treatment planning decisions in regard to tooth preservation by endodontic retreatment versus tooth extraction and replacement. However, individual practitioners lacked consistency in their decision making over time.
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February 2018

Variability in Capsaicin-stimulated Calcitonin Gene-related Peptide Release from Human Dental Pulp.

J Endod 2016 Apr 19;42(4):542-6. Epub 2016 Feb 19.

Department of Endodontics, New York University College of Dentistry, New York, New York. Electronic address:

Introduction: The unique innervation and anatomic features of dental pulp contribute to the remarkable finding that any physical stimulation of pulpal tissue is painful. Furthermore, when pathological processes such as caries affect teeth and produce inflammation of the pulp, the pain experienced can be quite intense and debilitating. To better understand these underlying neurobiological mechanisms and identify novel analgesic targets for pulpally derived pain, we have developed a powerful ex vivo model using human tooth slices.

Methods: Noncarious, freshly extracted teeth were collected and sectioned longitudinally into 1-mm-thick slices containing both dental pulp and the surrounding mineralized tissues. Tooth slices from 36 patients were exposed to 60 μmol/L capsaicin to stimulate the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) from nerve terminals in the pulp. Patient factors were analyzed for their effects on capsaicin-stimulated CGRP release using a mixed model analysis of variance.

Results: Approximately one third of the variability observed in capsaicin-evoked CGRP release was attributable to differences between individuals. In terms of individual factors, there was no effect of anesthesia type, sex, or age on capsaicin-stimulated CGRP release. Using a within-subject study design, a significant effect of capsaicin on CGRP release was observed.

Conclusions: Capsaicin-stimulated CGRP release from dental pulp is highly variable between individuals. A within-subject study design improves the variability and maximizes the potential of this powerful translational model to test the efficacy of novel pharmacotherapeutic agents on human peripheral nociceptors.
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April 2016

Cleft palate defect of Dlx1/2-/- mutant mice is caused by lack of vertical outgrowth in the posterior palate.

Dev Dyn 2012 Nov 28;241(11):1757-69. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, New York University College of Dentistry, New York, NY 10010, USA.

Background: Mice lacking the activities of Dlx1 and Dlx2 (Dlx1/2-/-) exhibit cleft palate, one of the most common human congenital defects, but the etiology behind this phenotype has been unknown. Therefore, we analyzed the morphological, cellular, and molecular changes caused by inactivation of Dlx1 and Dlx2 as related to palate development.

Results: Dlx1/2-/- mutants exhibited lack of vertical growth in the posterior palate during the earliest stage of palatogenesis. We attributed this growth deficiency to reduced cell proliferation. Expression of a cell cycle regulator Ccnd1 was specifically down-regulated in the same region. Previous studies established that the epithelial-mesenchymal signaling loop involving Shh, Bmp4, and Fgf10 is important for cell proliferation and tissue growth during palate development. This signaling loop was disrupted in Dlx1/2-/- palate. Interestingly, however, the decreases in Ccnd1 expression and mitosis in Dlx1/2-/- mutants were independent of this signaling loop. Finally, Dlx1/2 activity was required for normal expression of several transcription factor genes whose mutation results in palate defects.

Conclusions: The functions of Dlx1 and Dlx2 are crucial for the initial formation of the posterior palatal shelves, and that the Dlx genes lie upstream of multiple signaling molecules and transcription factors important for later stages of palatogenesis.
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November 2012