Welcoming Professor Kumbargere N Sumanth, new editor with the Cochrane Oral Health Group

image_4The Cochrane Oral Health Group is delighted to announce that we have offered the role of Editor with the Group to Professor Kumbargere N. Sumanth. He is the lead author on the protocol Interventions for managing post-extraction bleeding and on the published review Interventions for the management of taste disturbances. He is co-author on several other Cochrane Oral Health Group reviews.

He graduated with a BDS from Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davangere, India in 1997, and then undertook a Masters in the speciality of Oral Medicine and Oral Radiology at the same institution. He began his teaching career in 2001, and has worked at universities in India and Libya. He is currently head of department at the Faculty of Dentistry, Melaka Manipal Medical College in Malaysia, where he is involved in teaching, consultations for oral medicine referral patients and radiology reporting. From an education point of view, he believes that students should be taught health-care that is evidence-based, and was inspired to get involved by the quality of the research in evidence-based health (EBH), and the hierarchy of evidence.

Professor Kumbargere has a team of colleagues involved in EBH research. Cochrane protocol workshops are held annually for faculty members at the College, and there are four trained faculty members working on new titles for registration. The College itself is one of the nodal centres of the Malaysian Cochrane network, with more than 22 authors engaged in Cochrane work. In dentistry, 8 authors are registered authors with groups including the Oral Health Group, the Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group and the Occupational Health and Safety Group. The college also has a translator working on Bahasa Malay translations for Cochrane.

Working overseas and in a private university, doing research can be a challenge, so the opportunity to learn more about secondary research by getting involved with Cochrane was welcome. He says: “I was always interested in research and I enjoyed clinical research when I was working in India. Being the first to start a Cochrane review from my faculty and from my country gave me the boost to motivate and involve many other faculty members. I have built a good dental team at my institution, in India and Nepal who are now ready to take up more Cochrane reviews. Above all, the thing which I enjoy most about being a Cochrane author is that we collaborate with people of different countries, work as a team, exchange ideas and knowledge, and produce evidence which is for the benefit of the society as a whole.”

Other areas of research interest include oral pre-cancer and oral cancer, advanced imaging in the maxillofacial region, economic evaluations and clinical trials generally. He is keen to get involved with a Diagnostic Test Accuracy review, and is currently undertaking an MSc in Evidence-Based Healthcare at University College London, where he will further pursue this interest. He is also planning more Cochrane reviews. With a background as a Maxillofacial Radiologist he is keen to look at the evidence on the use of various imaging modalities such as CBCT and panoramic imaging. The ban on Gutkha (a dried mixture of betel-nut, tobacco and lime) is another research interest, and whether it has had an impact on the incidence of oral submucous fibrosis in South-East Asia. The World Health Organization in India has recently made their literature on this topic available to him.

Professor Kumbargere is excited to start his new role as an editor. He commented: “I think this is an opportunity for me to share my knowledge, learn new concepts and acquire new skills. The majority of the South East Asian countries and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) lack EBH training in their medical and dental courses. This will help me in building the concept of evidence based dentistry in this region. I look forward to giving my fullest commitment to this new role assigned to me.”

We look forward to working with him and the rest of the team at Melaka Manipal Medical College.