Dean Jeffcoat of Penn Dental in NIH Video Produced to Encourage Young Girls to Consider Careers in Research

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | juliemcw@upenn.edu | 215-898-1422January 10, 2008

PHILADELPHIA -- Marjorie Jeffcoat, dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is one of three U.S. dental researchers featured in a new educational video produced by the National Institutes of Health.

The 23-minute video, titled “Women in Dental Research,” is the fifth in a series called “Women Are Scientists,” developed by the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health and Office of Science Education to encourage young girls to consider research careers. It is targeted to girls in eighth grade and up who are making decisions about taking advanced math and science classes.

In the video, released late last year, Jeffcoat talks about the joy she gets out of her research, in seeing patients and in collaborating with others, including her engineer husband, Robert, with whom she’s designed various dental instruments.
“[Collaboration] is more important as every day goes on” she says in the video, “because nobody knows everything, nobody has every creative idea.”

The video focuses on her research into the connection between poor oral health in pregnant women and preterm birth, and her work in the development of a non-injectable oral anesthetic. She also says that a career in dentistry doesn’t preclude having a fulfilling family life.
“Don’t think that because you’ve chosen a career in science that it cuts you off from a happy home life,” she says, “Because it doesn’t.”

Also featured in this production, are researchers Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, associate professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Deborah Greenspan, a clinical professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry and clinical director of the UCSF Oral AIDS Center.
The other videos in the series focus on women surgeons, pathologists, researchers in a variety of fields and scientists with disabilities.

“In each of these areas, we select outstanding women role models to inform and encourage young girls to consider the fields of research and science as career options,” said Gloria Seelman, executive producer.
Some 10,000 copies of the video on DVD will be distributed to middle and high schools, at teachers’ conferences and to medical schools and other institutions that can use the series for outreach to their communities.
Copies of the video are available from the NIH by visiting http://science.education.nih.gov/home2.nsf/Educational+Resources/Grade+Levels/+Middle+School/F4DC786C2DC6E5548525733E0063F93F.

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