Seasoned professors can tell you about the thrill they felt the first time their name appeared as the primary author of a research article published in a prominent journal. It’s a rite of passage in the career of academic scholars – and an achievement few experience when they are still in dental school. It is therefore with great pride that the IU dental school announces that fourth-year dental student Eric Westergard is now the published author of a research article appearing in the November 2011 issue of one of the world’s leading dental journals – the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Mr. Westergard is the first author of “Controlling Bacterial Contamination of Dental Impression Guns.” His co-authors are Dr. Laura Romito, Oral Biology; Dr. Michael Kowolik, Periodontics and Allied Dental Programs; and Dr. Charles Palenik, the school’s former director of Infection Control Research and Services, now retired, and current director of the national Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention.
Mr. Westergard's research is timely, since bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – better known to the general public as MRSA – have become of increasing concern throughout society, including the dental profession. Looking specifically at the contamination of dental impression guns during clinical use, Eric and his research team found that these dispensing guns had their highest reduction in contamination -- 95% -- through steam sterilization followed by the use of plastic gun covers and disinfection.
December 5, 2011