Six PEARL Practitioner-Investigators were asked to share their experiences as members of the PEARL Network. Click here to view the video.
PEARL Practitioner-Investigators generate ideas for and conduct studies that seek research-based solutions to the problems routinely confronted by general practitioners. PEARL studies are conducted by over 200 Practitioner-Investigators in 32 states serving a diverse patient population.
PEARL Practitioner-Investigators enjoy several benefits, including Continuing Education credits from New York University. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), below. To apply for membership, go to the Become a PEARL Practitioner page.
The PEARL membership enjoys the support of a PEARL Network infrastructure that includes personnel from the New York University College of Dentistry, the EMMES Corporation, and the National Insitutes of Health as well as an External Advisory Board of extramural experts and an Institutional Review Board.
Development and conduct of PEARL Network studies is overseen by the PEARL Executive Committee—most of whose members are elected by and from among the PEARL membership—and is managed by a PEARL Executive Management Team composed of NYU faculty who collectively represent nearly one hundred years of clinical research experience. PEARL Network operations are further supported by a world-class data-coordinating center (EMMES Corporation), the largest commercial dental benefit plan in the U.S. (MetLife Dental), and a panel of distinguished extramural investigators and consultants.
The PEARL Network was launched in 2005 when New York University College of Dentistry received a $26.7 million award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (part of NIH) to establish one of three regional practice-based research networks with the mandate to expand the research evidence base in dentistry. Over its 7-year grant period, the PEARL Network is expected to conduct approximately 20 short-term studies, several of which are currently under way or in the planning stages: see the PEARL Studies page.
About joining the PEARL Network
- Am I eligible for PEARL membership?
- How do I become a PEARL member?
- Who else in my office needs to be involved?
About conducting PEARL studies
- What kind of studies are conducted by PEARL members?
- Who decides what to study?
- How much time will research take from my practice?
- How many studies am I expected to be involved in?
- What kind of training will I and my staff be provided?
- How do I get a research idea adopted?
- What are the benefits of PEARL membership?
FAQs about joining the PEARL Network
Q: Am I eligible for PEARL membership?
A: You are eligible if you graduated from dental school 5 or more years ago, are owner or co-owner of your practice, have practiced at least 5 years in the same location, employ a full-time receptionist or office manager, and have a well-organized recall system and office-based internet access.
Q: How do I become a PEARL member?
A: Please first review the responsibilities of PEARL membership described in these FAQs and the nature of PEARL studies on the PEARL Studies page. Then complete the application on the Become a PEARL Practitioner page. We will contact you with instructions on (1) how to complete a PEARL Network Practitioner-Investigator Profile; and (2) how you and your key office staff can take the online tutorial on the protection of human research participants. When we receive notification that you have completed the tutorial, you will be officially admitted to the PEARL Network and granted Continuing Education credit from NYU.
Q. Who else in my office needs to be involved?
A: As a busy practitioner, you will probably delegate some of the research activities to a key member of your staff such as your office manager or a hygienist. This person, your Practice Research Coordinator—and any other staff who play an active role in PEARL research—also should understand the basic principles of conducting research using human subjects. See also What kind of training will I and my staff be provided?
FAQs about conducting PEARL studies
Q: What kind of studies are conducted by PEARL members?
A: Most PEARL investigations are observational studies, typically investigations that compare the outcomes of alternative treatments or materials. See the PEARL Studies page for a more complete description.
Q: Who decides what to study?
You do. Every PEARL protocol is generated from ideas submitted by its members. See Turning an idea into a PEARL study on the PEARL Studies page.
Q: How much time will research take from my practice?
A: Once you and your staff have completed study-specific training, you and/or your office staff can expect to spend about 2 hours a week engaged in the details of a typical PEARL study. Surveys and questionnaires involved in retrospective studies can be completed at your leisure and may require some staff time to review chart data. Periodic monitoring visits from the PEARL Clinical Research Associate assigned to your practice will also require a time commitment.
Q: How many studies am I expected to be involved in?
A: There is no minimum requirement for the number of studies you must commit to. Most PEARL Practitioner-Investigators seek involvement in at least one study per year. As for the maximum number of studies that your practice can conduct, this depends on how many of your patients meet the clinical entry criteria for any particular study and your interest in committing your practice to the study. We will contact you regarding participation in all studies that appear to be relevant to your practice based on the Practitioner-Investigator Profile that you completed upon applying to the PEARL Network.
Q: What kind of training will I and my staff be provided?
A: Your initial PEARL training consists of the tutorial on the protection of human research participants. Completing the tutorial qualifies you and your key staff for PEARL membership and earns you Continuing Education credit. When you enroll in a any PEARL study, you and your key staff receive additional training in how to initiate, conduct, and close out that study. Moreover, a PEARL Clinical Research Associate will be assigned to your practice who will help in all facets of study conduct (including the details of data entry) and serve as your primary PEARL liaison for the duration of the study.
Q: How do I get a research idea adopted?
A: See Turning an idea into a PEARL study on the PEARL Studies page.
Q: What are the benefits of PEARL membership?
A: As a PEARL Practitioner-Investigator, in addition to acquiring the knowledge and skills to conduct clinical research as part of a unique dental fellowship that enjoys high visibility, you will:
- Earn free Continuing Education credits.
- Attend all-expenses-paid weekend PEARL Annual Meetings with one of your office staff that feature PEARL study updates, seminars led by leading clinicians and dental researchers, study idea brainstorming sessions, and more.
- Receive an appointment as Research Associate in the New York University College of Dentistry.
- Have the opportunity to present PEARL Network research results at national meetings and publish these findings in peer-reviewed journals.
- Have access to sound scientific evidence on which to base decisions in your practice.
- Be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment.