Bulletin of Dental Education

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Celebrates its 150th Anniversary

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Tufts 150 Logo2018 will be a landmark year in the history of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM). The school will be celebrating its 150th anniver­­­­sary on June 3. The anniversary—called a sesquicentennial—has prompted celebrations throughout the year, as well as a period of reflection on the dental school’s impact. 

“This year marks a significant milestone in the history of our school as well as the university,” says Huw Thomas, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., Dean of TUSDM. “We are reflecting on our past and considering what the future will bring. And we want to celebrate what makes TUSDM such a special place today.” 

The 150th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year in a multitude of ways to showcase the educational experience at TUSDM. Dr. Thomas will present an Anniversary Lecture Series for the university community, focusing on research conducted at the dental school. The school will also take part in Give Kids a Smile Day, providing dental care to underserved pediatric patients in the community. And the dental school’s history has been memorialized in the Tufts Dental 150th Digital Museum, an online exhibit of photos, stories and videos exploring the school’s rich past. 

Five students practice oral exams on mannequins
in the clinical laboratory of the Tufts Dental College
(later, TUSDM) around 1910. (Photo previously
printed in H. Martin Deranian and Gerald Shklar,
“An HonorableRecord: The Story of the First One
Hundred Years of Tufts University School of
Dental Medicine,” Bulletin of the History of
Dentistry, 18, no. 1 [June 1970], 22.)

The milestone has particularly highlighted the evolution of the dental school’s curriculum and educational experiences. Over the years, the second-largest dental school in the nation has built its curriculum around a diversity of experiences in the classroom, on the clinical floor, in the lab and in the community.  

“Tufts Dental from the beginning has been committed to helping students become top-notch clinicians,” says Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Nadeem Karimbux, D.M.D., M.M.Sc. “Today, the educational experience at Tufts means that we have holistic graduates who are adept at not just clinical skills, but critical thinking, empathy and professionalism.” 

Dr. Karimbux said TUSDM’s curriculum has shifted over the years. Although a large part of the curriculum was focused only on technical skills for practicing dentists, the curriculum now includes information on pain management and preventing opioid addiction, practice management, and care for patients with complex health conditions. The Basic Science/Clinical Science Spiral Seminar Series allows students from each year to investigate a clinical case, building a “spirit of collaboration.” Students have the opportunity to provide care to a variety of underserved communities, including mandated rotations at Tufts Dental Facilities, a network of dental clinics throughout Massachusetts that provide specialized care to patients with disabilities. And TUSDM provides students with the flexibility to take on research challenges outside the dental school, such as the student research programs at the National Institutes of Health; one-third of the dental students attending these programs have been from Tufts. 

“Students at Tufts are encouraged to seek out and excel in many different forums,” Dr. Karimbux says. “We want them to explore everything they’re interested in.” 

Learn more about the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine 150th Anniversary.

Courtesy of Emma Johnson, Communications Specialist, TUSDM


Published onMarch 14, 2018

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