Bulletin of Dental Education

Around the Dental Education Community - May 2010

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Creighton Leads Nation in Recruiting Native American Dentists

Creighton University first-year Native American dental students pictured here from left to right Ms. Tamra Jones (Navajo), Mr. David Henry (Cherokee), and Ms. Tracy Charging Crow (Oglala Lakota) are studying dental anatomy and occlusion (bite). Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Creighton UniversityCreighton University is meeting a need for Native American dentists and addressing a persistent health disparity head on. There are more than 4.5 million Native Americans in the United States, but fewer than 150 Native American dentists serve this population.

"The key to providing better access to dental care in underserved populations is to recruit students from the communities themselves. If a student has a strong tribal affiliation when they enter a profession, they are much more likely to return to the reservations to provide health care to their people," said Dr. Frank J. Ayers, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Admissions.

Creighton's School of Dentistry has enrolled four first-year Native American students this year, and four have already been accepted for next year. With only 30 Native American dental students enrolled in 58 dental schools in the United States, Creighton's dental program has the highest number of first-year Native American students enrolled in the nation.

In spring 2008, Creighton and Marquette University received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Dental Pipeline Program to assist with recruitment of Native American students into the nation's dentistry schools.

According to Dr. Ayers, the grant's principal investigator, Creighton's program offers Native American college and high school students an opportunity to attend a month-long summer enrichment program that exposes them to a career in dentistry. Creighton also expanded its predental postbaccalaureate program for disadvantaged students to include three Native American students each year. After completion of the 13-month program, these students enter dental school. Both efforts provide scholarship money to boost enrollment.

Creighton's leadership in recruitment of and outreach to underserved populations emanates directly from Jesuit values and principles. This year, 69 Native American students are enrolled as full-time students at Creighton University in its undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and colleges. The university also provides medical, dental, pharmaceutical, and other health services programs at reservations in Nebraska and South Dakota. The university also recently established a Native American Center to coordinate advocacy outreach programs and resources to support this work.

University of Pennsylvania Announces Expansion of Partnership with Peking University

The University of Pennsylvania and Peking University announced an agreement recognizing shared academic interests between the two universities. The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and Peking University School of Stomatology will sign an agreement to facilitate research and educational programs. On March 10, Peking hosted a day-long symposium on oral health that included sessions on smoking and oral health, modern endodontic therapy, maxillofacial surgery, implants, and prosthetics. Penn and Peking faculty gathered on campus, convening discussions on international relations, oral health, management and leadership, and globalization.

"Penn and Peking share a devotion to the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom across academic boundaries and national borders," University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Amy Gutmann said. "Our two universities and our countries have benefited from rewarding student exchanges and from our research partnerships in management, law, communications, and oral health."

Penn's School of Dental Medicine and Peking's School of Stomatology are strengthening faculty and student ties through this new agreement that outlines exchange of students and faculty, exchange of learning resources and the possibility of joint research projects between the two faculties.

Interprofessional Students Talk Politics with U.S. Senator

Ms. Lindsay Harshman, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Mr. Ryan Walsh (D3) at the University of Iowa discuss the interprofessional impact of health care reform.U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley meet with over 300 health science students, faculty, and staff at the University of Iowa to bring attention to the importance and impact of health care reform on all health science students. During the Interdisciplinary Health Science Forum, Sen. Grassley, a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, was implored to address the topics of financing graduate education and retaining health care professionals in Iowa.

The event was organized by Mr. Ryan Walsh, third-year dental student and collegiate representative to the University of Iowa Executive Council for Graduate and Professional Students, and Ms. Lyndsay Harshman, President of the University of Iowa's Medical Student Government.

University of Florida College of Dentistry Dedicates Renovated Pediatric Dental Center

Dean Teresa A. Dolan and Dr. Robert E. Primosch, Pediatric Dental Professor and Associate Dean for Education; Photo courtesy of the University of FloridaOn March 19, the University of Florida College of Dentistry held a dedication and ribbon cutting for an extensively renovated pediatric dental clinic, the Robert E. Primosch Clinical Education Center, that expects 19,000 patient visits annually. Ninety percent of those visits are by children on Medicaid.

Clinic renovations were funded solely by $750,000 in private donations, most from graduates of the college's pediatric dental residency program. "The fact that so many dentists helped fund this renovation highlights the fact that dentists care strongly about access to dental care for the community's poorest children and are taking steps to help where they can," said College of Dentistry Dean Teresa A. Dolan.

The center is named the Robert E. Primosch Clinical Education Center in honor of the long-time pediatric dental professor and current Associate Dean of the college. A former residency program director and department chair, Dr. Primosch has spent the past 25 years educating the pediatric dental specialists who graduate from the program.

The 4,500-square-foot facility includes 11 private operatories, a four-chair open bay, two radiology rooms, a simulation station with two pediatric dental simulators, two sedation suites, and a recovery room for patients who need extensive dental work done or who have high anxiety or other issues with dental treatment.

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