Educator Spotlight - Fall 2010
Meghan Dubois, University of Michigan
Dr. William V. Giannobile, advisor
all started for Meghan Dubois when she decided to take part in the
University of Michigan's (UM) Scholars Program in
Dental Leadership. For her capstone project in the program, she
developed a rotation in
clinical research with Dr. William V. Giannobile of the
school's Michigan Center for Oral Health Research
(MCOHR), where she had volunteered as an undergrad. The course
Meghan developed consists of topic presentations, literature
reviews led by faculty and scholars from health disciplines
throughout the university, observation of patient encounters within
clinical trials, and attendance at a research team meeting. The
course was approved last December, and with the enthusiastic
support of Dr. Marilyn S. Lantz, Associate Dean for Academic
Affairs, the faculty elected to make it part of the required
curriculum for third-year students beginning in fall 2010.
In Meghan's view, the exposure to bench top research that most
dental students receive is not enough. "For me," she says, "just
understanding the process of clinical research helped me to be more
critical of procedures and to better evaluate scientific
literature. Being exposed to this aspect of dentistry also helped
me get beyond the mentality that dentistry is just about seeing
Last spring, Meghan and Dr. Giannobile piloted the rotation with
a group of volunteers to refine their curriculum. Surveys conducted
before and after the rotation found that these participants
increased their ability to analyze a clinical trial and developed
greater confidence in their knowledge of clinical research. To
learn more, contact Dr. Giannobile at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Hammer, University of the Pacific Arthur A.
Dugoni School of Dentistry
Dr. Nader A. Nadershahi, advisor
student body president, California Trustee to the American Student
Dental Association (ASDA), and ASDA liaison to two other
national groups, Daniel Hammer has traveled around the country
meeting with other dental student leaders. These experiences have
convinced him that dentists are going to be viewed as leaders by
their patients, the dental team, and the community-whether they are
prepared for leadership or not. In response, he is on a mission to
make sure that dental schools address the significant role dentists
play as leaders.
Last month, Daniel launched the Dugoni Practical Leadership Initiative (DPLI),
a series of six monthly workshops and three speaker sessions.
Student participation in the DPLI pilot is voluntary, but in a
recent survey 94% of University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School
of Dentistry students said they would or maybe would
participate if such a program were offered. In fact, interest is so
high that there is talk of possibly offering a minor in leadership
in the years ahead.
In the meantime, Daniel's goal for DPLI "is not to create the
future president of ADEA, but to create dental students with the
leadership skills needed to lead in their practice and community.
The emphasis of the program is to instill practical knowledge in
students that can be applied immediately."
Daniel has identified eight leadership programs currently active
in U.S. dental schools, three of which have been described in
academic journals. He has just submitted an article to the
Journal of the American College of Dentists about the new
role of the dental student as a leader within dentistry.
To learn more, see Daniel's poster at the 2011 ADEA Annual
Session & Exhibition or contact him at email@example.com.
James Han, University of California, San
Dr. Linda L. Angin and Dr. Arthur Miller, advisors
2008, James Han approached Dr. Linda L. Angin in Oral Radiology at
the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),
about introducing cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) to other
students. She was supportive of the idea but, as James quickly
learned, the school's budget would not cover the high cost of the
proprietary software used to read CBCT scans.
Undeterred, James sought out free software available through
Hitachi America (AVIA) that allows the school's computers to read
the CBCT data. With the help of faculty advisor Dr. Arthur Miller,
he then developed a radiology rotation that introduces UCSF
students to CBCT and provides them with a broader view of dental
With the help of his two faculty advisors and another faculty
member, Dr. John Huang, James has published a manual with
step-by-step instructions for reading and evaluating CBCT scans as
they relate to caring for patients with unique conditions (e.g.,
impacted canine teeth, mandibular lesions, or TMD). As a result,
all UCSF students can avail themselves of the opportunity to learn
about this state-of-the-art technology.
James and his collaborators are submitting an article about this
initiative to a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Dental
Education. He is now a resident in oral and maxillofacial
surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. To learn more,
contact Dr. James Han at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aram Kim and Dr. Samuel Koo, Harvard School of Dental
Dr. Nadeem Karimbux, advisor
part in research may be standard fare at the Harvard School
of Dental Medicine, but even after that undergraduate
requirement is met, a succession of predoctoral students has chosen
to investigate whether haptic technology can be used to better
prepare dental students for clinical practice.
When Dr. Nadeem Karimbux invited students to pursue this
research opportunity in 2008, second-year student Aram Kim stepped
forward, as did junior faculty member, Dr. Samuel Koo. Together
they developed a hypothesis that using a haptic device in a
preclinical exercise would improve manual dexterity. Then they set
about implementing their study in summer 2009. The first round of
data collection did not show significant results so they refined
the experiment, integrating CAD-CAM technology to get more
sensitive measures. Dr. Koo expects to begin analyzing this new
data this fall.
Dr. Koo continues to coordinate the project, now as a resident
in periodontology. "If you are involved in developing educational
projects," he says, "you need to rely on students to help shape the
methodology." He believes that approaching research as both a
student and an educator has given him a unique perspective.
Two new predoctoral students have joined the team, and a
researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital is collaborating with
them on a related avenue of research. If their work can demonstrate
a relationship between the use of a haptic device and improved
manual dexterity, they think the technology could prove useful for
entrance or board exams. To learn more, contact Dr. Samuel Koo at
Gabriel Proulx, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Heiko Spallek, advisor
happens when you introduce group-based learning with regularly
changing groups into an already complex curriculum? At the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental
Medicine, the curriculum committee members remember all too
well their struggles to produce a user-friendly calendar that could
adequately capture where their students needed to be when.
Fortunately for everyone, a first-year student decided to take
things into his own hands, and today the entire school is reading
off the same virtual page-a Google calendar that can be accessed directly
from anywhere on the Web or indirectly through the school's
Student Gabriel Proulx says he spent almost seven hours creating
a first-semester calendar for himself when he decided he might as
well spend a few more and make the calendar available to everyone
in his class. He describes his fellow students as "excited and
grateful" when he posted the calendar on the Web.
"We already have enough stress," he says, "without having to
worry about where we're going and remembering when tests are. The
calendar allows us to focus on what's important, rather than on
where we need to be."
Dr. Spallek agreed and has adopted Gabriel's model for the
entire school. Each class now has a Google calendar, and a fifth
calendar tracks schoolwide events. Each class president and a
delegate are permitted to add and edit events. Unlike their
predecessors, the new calendars can sync with students' mobile
devices and are compatible with both PC and Mac computers. To learn
more, contact Dr. Heiko Spallek at email@example.com.
Brittney M. Wise, University of Alabama at
Dr. Michael S. McCracken, advisor
University of Alabama at Birmingham
(UAB)student pass rates on Part 1 of the National Dental Board
Exams (NDBE) hit an all-time high last year, thanks to the efforts
of a handful of students led by Brittney M. Wise. UAB had recently
introduced a new curriculum, but had yet to decide how to conduct
its NDBE review.
"As the time drew near, the instructors had something in mind,"
says Brittney, "but we looked at the schedule and suggested that we
redesign it and gear it toward what we felt we needed." The faculty
agreed, and the students began by surveying their upper-class peers
to find out which study tools they had found most useful. The
consensus pointed to First Aid for the NDBE Part 1, a
popular test prep study guide. Working with Dr. Dennis J. Pillion,
the students created a course modeled in part on the First
Aid book. They also brought back their favorite lecturers, who
built questions into their PowerPoint presentations that the
students could answer using an automated response system.
Of course, some credit for UAB students' NDBE pass rate might
also go to the school's new curriculum. Dr. Michael S. McCracken,
Associate Dean for Education and Curriculum Development, has been
evaluating it throughout the implementation phase. Brittney reports
that he surveys the students following each course, and that most
of the major changes that students have suggested have been
implemented. To learn more, contact Brittney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacqueline H. Yoon, University of
Ms. Sandra D. Challman and Dr. Pamela Stein,
Yoon was first introduced to the virtual reality website Second
Life as one of the University
of Kentucky's (UK) Summer Research Fellows. Her mentors, UK's
Curriculum Development Director Sandy Challman and Dr. Jennifer
Bruekner, asked her to test the potential and student-friendliness
of a Second Life module designed to teach anatomy to
nursing students. Since then, her summer project has sparked new
projects, including a plan for an undergraduate three-credit
course, and Jackie, an officer on the ADEA Council of Students,
Residents, and Fellows, has a new attitude toward what she calls
"the conservative world of education."
"I would never have imagined how soon new ways of thinking and
teaching could be applied to actual education," she explains. "I
give credit to people who are not afraid to try out different
methods of teaching if they think they can better educate students,
and also to proactive students who try to make education more
interesting and challenging."
In the near future, she hopes to use Second Life as a platform
to create a virtual lab where dental students can practice
administering local anesthesia. Dr. Pamela Stein, who previously developed a
course to teach intraoral injections to residents in emergency
medicine, is glad to see Jackie seizing the interactive
possibilities of Second Life to extend her work.
Additional information about the University of Kentucky Second
Life Island may be found at www.uky.edu/TASC/IT/SecondLife/sled.htm. To
learn more, contact Sandy Challman at email@example.com.