Paul Benjamin: college’s first graduate shares his wisdom with the class of 2015

In 1976, Paul Benjamin, D.M.D., took a special place in our history by becoming the first graduate of the first class of the University of Florida College of Dentistry.  Throughout his career he has remained involved and supportive of the college in many ways. In fact, despite running a busy general dental practice in Miami, Fla., each year he returns to present a lecture to the sophomore class, serves as a courtesy assistant clinical professor in the college’s Hialeah Dental Center, and is a Practitioner-Investigator for the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN).

Recently Jaana Gold, D.D.S., an adjunct clinical associate professor for Community Based Programs, invited Benjamin to present the closing lecture of a 12-lecture series in her Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) course.

Benjamin encouraged the students to consider two different significant aspects of evidence-based dentistry.

“The EBD course is important not just to graduate, but that it is actually something you will use for the rest of your career in helping you make the right decisions for the health care of your patients,” he said.  “Even someone like me, a wet gloved practicing dentist for over 35 years, uses my growing knowledge of EBD to better help me understand the articles I read. Now I can critically appraise content and better understand and grade the courses I take, which, in essence, has made me a more discerning scientist and dentist.”

Benjamin also presented information concerning his involvement in the NDPBRN explaining why he believes being engaged in the NDPBRN is a natural extension of evidence-based dentistry.

“My hope to share my view that what may seem, at first glance, a relatively dry topic, is really central to being a well-rounded scientist and will help guide dentists over their career in analyzing all aspects of their practice.”

He encouraged the students to join the NDPBRN to help the dental profession increase the volume of EBD studies in practices, “We need to help answer many of the question we have in the actual practice of dentistry.”

The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network is a consortium of participating practices and dental organizations committed to advancing patient care. Essentially, it is “practical science” done about, in, and for the benefit of “real world” everyday clinical practice. The major source of funding for the nation’s network is the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). (