Bulletin of Dental Education

Tracing the Footsteps of the Future: Ponce Health Sciences University’s Dental Medicine Program Sets Sail

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In the vibrant landscape of health care education, Ponce Health Sciences University proudly stands at the forefront, charting new territories and pioneering groundbreaking initiatives. A monumental achievement is commemorated as Ponce Health Sciences University School of Dental Medicine (PHSU SDM) embarks on a transformative journey, marking a significant milestone in Puerto Rico’s educational landscape.

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At the heart of this achievement lies PHSU SDM’s Doctor of Dental Medicine program, catering to both residents and non-residents of Puerto Rico. Situated in the southern region of the island, this program distinguishes itself as the first private dental school in the United States to provide bilingual education in Spanish and English, a testament to its commitment to cultural inclusivity and global excellence.

The four-year curriculum, delivered in a full-time, on-campus format, is meticulously designed to instill comprehensive competencies in future dental professionals. Rooted in a mission to cultivate culturally competent and ethically sound practitioners, the program empowers students with academic rigor, empathy and a dedication to serving underserved communities.

Central to the educational philosophy is a multidimensional approach encompassing teaching, research, patient care and service. Through innovative curricular design and hands-on experiences, students are equipped to navigate diverse clinical settings, embrace digital dentistry advancements and engage in nationwide rotations, ensuring a holistic learning journey.

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Back of PHSU SDM Academic Tower.

As state-of-the-art laboratories and expansive patient care facilities are unveiled within the Academic Tower, a future where oral health disparities are addressed with compassion and expertise is envisioned. With 82 chairs spanning 24,000 square feet, the clinic stands as a beacon of accessible health care, poised to transform countless lives.

The objectives of the Doctor of Dental Medicine program reflect an unwavering commitment of excellence to:

  • Provide a high-quality educational curriculum integrating evidence-based knowledge and clinical skills.
  • Deliver comprehensive patient-centered oral care to underserved populations within the community.
  • Foster excellence in basic and clinical research, scholarship and creative activities.
  • Promote continuous education for faculty and staff to achieve excellence in education and service.

Inaugurating the first cohort of the Doctor of Dental Medicine program marks a historic moment for PHSU SDM and Puerto Rico. With an initial selection of 50 exceptional students, this milestone not only celebrates the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s accreditation of the program but also the culmination of years of dedication and visionary leadership.

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Noel J. Aymat, D.M.D., J.D.

In the words of Noel J. Aymat, D.M.D., J.D., Dean of PHSU SDM, “This milestone reflects the university’s commitment to academic excellence and highlights the growing interest and demand for dental education in Puerto Rico.” Dean Aymat’s vision underscores the collective endeavour to nurture a new generation of dental professionals poised to make a difference, locally and globally.

As this historic moment is embraced, a warm welcome is extended to the inaugural class, reaffirming dedication to their success. Together, a journey of discovery, innovation and service is embarked upon, shaping the future of oral health care and enriching the fabric of communities.

This is not just a program, but rather a promise of transformation, empowerment and enduring impact.

Dean Aymat encapsulates the shared sentiment: “For the first time, we have a private dental school opening its doors to offer opportunities to study this great and necessary profession, increasing the availability of dentists who can serve the country and the world.”

Indeed, a new chapter in dental education has begun—one marked by excellence, inclusion and boundless possibilities.

Courtesy of Ponce Health Sciences University School of Dental Medicine

Published on May 8, 2024

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