I am currently
a second-year dental student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental
Medicine. In the summer after my undergraduate freshman year, I had the
privilege of attending the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP),
formerly known as Summer Medical and Dental Education Program, at the
University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha, NE. This six-week
intensive summer program is an excellent opportunity for college students who
are interested in pursuing a career in health care. In this blog post, I will
share my experience and what I learned during my time in the program,
specifically focused on dentistry.
My first day in the
program, we received a tour of the medical school and got familiar with the
building and hospital nearby.
to SHPEP, I was initially nervous about visiting another part of the country
and spending six weeks with complete strangers. When we first arrived, we were
welcomed with a tour of the medical school where we would be taking classes
Monday through Thursday along with our dorm building where our rooms, lounge
space and dining hall were located. I was pleasantly surprised when I met my
cohort because we all got along very well. I especially became close friends
with my three roommates on my first day there. Maia, Kristine, Jennifer and I
did everything together that summer—from grabbing breakfast at the buffet every
morning building to walking to the gym after classes every day.
track was designed to provide students with an overview of the profession of
dentistry. On Fridays, we would take a bus to the dental school and spend the
day doing fun dental activities. It covered a wide range of topics, including
dental anatomy, dental radiology, specialties and patient care.
We assisted each other while
placing a class 2 composite restoration.
One of the
highlights of the program was the opportunity to practice hands-on activities
every week. We received hands-on training in restorative dentistry, taking
radiographs and waxing up teeth. This experience gave us a glimpse into the
daily life of a dentist and helped us understand the importance of being able
to work well with your hands.
I had the opportunity
to take radiographs on a mannequin and then review them in the lab.
We were able to take
alginate impressions on each other and then pour the models.
Aside from the
academic and clinical experiences, the program also offered a variety of social
and cultural activities. We had the opportunity to explore Omaha and attend
cultural events, such as concerts, sports games and the zoo. This allowed us to
bond with our fellow participants and learn more about the city and its people.
We received a tour of
the University of Nebraska football field.
valuable aspect of the program was the mentorship we received from experienced
dental professionals. In all these activities, we were with medical and dental
students who were willing to share their knowledge and answer our questions.
This was especially helpful when it came to preparing for dental school and
navigating the application process.
program is free, and you receive a stipend for attending. It was an incredible
experience to spend my summer not only learning about dentistry but also being
exposed to many different activities and adventures without any additional
cost. This is program dependent, but at UNMC it was nice to not have to worry
about buying any meals or paying for activities.
Some of the fun activities we did on the weekends included cruising on a lake and attending a College World Series Game. My roommates and I attended a local street fair in Omaha after arriving in the city. We also went to the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which is the second-best zoo in the country!
attending SHPEP at UNMC was an incredible experience. It provided me with a
solid foundation in the profession of dentistry and helped me develop the
skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career. I would highly
recommend this program to any college student who is considering a career in
dentistry or a related health care profession.
Me with other
participants at our ceremony at the end of the program.