Bulletin of Dental Education

Dr. Gobetti's Clinical Oral Pathology Images Become Key Tool in Dental Education at University of Michigan

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Even though he retired seven years ago, Jack Gobetti, D.D.S., M.S., wants his lifetime of teaching and patient care to benefit students well into the future. That’s why he is allowing the University of Michigan School of Dentistry (U-M SOD) to use more than 35,000 clinical oral pathology images he captured during his 38 years of teaching and providing patient care at U-M SOD.

Dr. Gobetti’s images show various oral health maladies in different stages of development in individuals of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. His collection includes numerous examples of specific diseases, such as lichen planus, a skin disease of the oral cavity. The images, taken before digital photography was widely used, will be converted into a digital format so they are available for viewing and discussion.

“These images are a gold mine for faculty and students,” says Theodora Danciu, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., Clinical Assistant Professor of Dentistry and Director of the Oral Pathology Biopsy Service and Director of the Graduate Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Residency Program. She said Dr. Gobetti’s images will be included in a database that she has created with funding from a Roy H. Roberts Dental Education Innovation Award. The images will be accompanied by detailed case histories about the patients, including summaries of findings, treatment plans and how patients responded.

She noted the images will help dental students provide better patient care since the students will have more visual information that will help them recognize when a patient has a particular oral disease and when to refer that patient for follow-up treatment and care.

Dr. Gobetti agreed. “All faculty and students will benefit,” he says. “By reviewing, analyzing and discussing these images, students will become even more proficient in recognizing a range of oral pathologies.”

Dr. Danciu said she envisions the images being used to help students learn more about specific oral diseases. That includes what she calls a “Case of the Month,” where a faculty member presents information about a patient with a particular oral condition and then uses the images to show how that condition or disease progressed over time.

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