Dr. Shelia S. Price, Associate Dean for Admissions, Recruitment and Access, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, was one of 13 presenters at the ADEA 8th Regional Pre-dental Advisors Workshop was held in Orlando, Florida. On Tuesday, March 7, 2006, pre-professional health advisors and minority affairs officers and admissions personnel of U.S. dental schools gathered for a one-day program on dental education preparation, opportunities, and trends.
Dr. Price’s presentation highlighted strategies and resources for effective recruitment of under-represented students. She framed her presentation by initially expounding the close-knit relationship between effective dental student recruitment programs and successful admission outcomes, followed with highlights of recruitment strategies undertaken by the Northeast Regional Recruitment Consortium (NERRC). A departure from traditional dental student recruitment models, NERRC subscribes to the notion of “better together.” In her presentation, Dr. Price advised against anticipated assumptions that regional recruitment strategies might rob individual schools of potential students by illustrating how NERRC strategies help to enlarge the under-represented student pool while simultaneously nurturing the existing applicant pool.
Comprised of five Pipeline dental schools: Boston, Connecticut, Howard, Temple, West Virginia, and Columbia (the site of the National Program Office), NERRC utilizes “out of the box” strategies to recruit under-represented students, including admission committee workshops tailored to fit individual dental school needs, regional pre-health professions advisor conferences and the creation of advisor and student recruitment materials. Modeled after a state recruitment plan developed by Pipeline schools in California, NERRC is comprised of student recruitment officers/specialists who have mutually created and activated strategic recruitment programs that reach beyond individual institutional borders.
Another opportunity to link pre-health advisors and Pipeline dental schools is slated in April when NERRC representatives will host a recruitment program at the Northeast Association of Advisors of Health Professions (NEAAHP) meeting in Portland, Maine on April 6-9, 2006.
For more information, including Dr. Price’s ADEA presentation, please email email@example.com.
The California-based Dental Health Foundation (DHF) has published the results of the California Smile Survey 2006 “Mommy, It Hurts to Chew.” Dental Health Foundation surveyed 21,000 kindergarten and third graders during the 2004-2005 school year. The survey found that more than one-quarter of children screened had untreated dental decay. The study compared California’s prevalence of tooth decay on a national scale, finding that out of 25 states surveyed, California has the second highest prevalence of tooth decay. The study also showed that barriers to dental care, including parent’s financial difficulties or a lack of dental insurance can have a profound impact on children’s dental health. Latino children participating in the survey were at a disproportionately large risk for dental health problems.
Collaboration partners were: California Department of Health Services, Office of Oral Health and the Maternal Child and Adolescent Branch, the California Department of Education, the California Dental Association Foundation, Oral Health Access Council, California Dental Hygienists’ Association, and California Primary Care Association.
Financial support was provided by: Health Resources and Services Administration, California Dental Association, First 5 California, and The California Endowment. The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors provided technical assistance.
By the time I started college I knew that I wanted to become a healthcare professional. I had assumed the only way to accomplish this goal was to go to college, then medical school and eventually I would become an M.D. While attending a Pre-freshman Health Careers Enrichment Program my eyes were opened to the world of dentistry. After a visit to Howard University’s College of Dentistry and a brief lecture from a faculty member about his personal reasons for choosing dentistry, I was hungry for more information on what to expect from a career in dentistry. From that moment on I was determined to do whatever it took to get the insight I needed to decide if dentistry was the field for me.
The following spring break I decided to take advantage of a program on campus that would allow me to job shadow at Howard University Hospital’s Department of Oral Surgery. By the end of the week I was sure that dentistry was the perfect career for me. Now that my decision was made, it was time to proactively pursue my goal of becoming a dentist. During the first week of my junior year I found myself sitting in the student employment office trying to figure out where I was going to work for the school year. As I flipped aimlessly through the huge collection of job listings I was shocked to find a position in the Dean’s office of the College of Dentistry staring me in the face. I interpreted it as destiny taking its course so I went with it.
My work-study position within the College of Dentistry was exactly what I needed to open the door for me to further explore a career in dentistry. One major advantage was the opportunity to speak with current students about dental school and faculty about what to expect as a dental professional. Another advantage was working with an undergraduate senior that was currently pursuing admission into dental school. She suggested that I apply to The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pipeline Summer Externship Program that she had been a part of and had found to be a valuable resource for information. The summer before my senior year I was able to participate in the externship, and I gained firsthand insight and experiences that would not have been possible without it. The opportunity to sit in on lectures, to hear from students and faculty, and to set a plan for getting into dental school was more than I could have ever expected. This experience helped me to better understand what dental school would be like. It also allowed me to become a better candidate for acceptance into the dental school of my choice by empowering me with valuable information and a clear plan to get me there.
Now that I am less than two months away from graduation and have completed all the necessary steps of my plan, I am confident that I have done my best to make myself a desirable candidate for admission into the dental school. With the interview at my first choice school under my belt, I feel less anxious about my future. I am satisfied with my efforts regardless of what the final decision may be.
Four years ago, the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry began implementing predoctoral curriculum improvements that not only changed the way students learn, but the way their competency is evaluated. Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs Dr. Bill Knight recently created a new “Competency Model” to formalize the process for evaluating student competence. The model features a key component that relies heavily on the College’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Pipeline, Profession & Practice: Community-Based Dental Education grant.
“The evidence classically used in dental schools and by testing boards to demonstrate competency has been student performance in a testing situation,” Dr. Knight explained. “The other classic piece is faculty observation, or grades. Most schools use only those two pieces of evidence to determine competence, as do all of the dental licensing agencies.” Those two indicators of competence, while necessary, are not sufficient, Dr. Knight feels, noting the College also has expanded student competency evaluation into two other categories.
“The first one is ‘varied experiences,’ where students get to experience applying knowledge they have gained without the pressure of a grade—what is termed ‘safe practice,’” Dr. Knight continued. The “varied experiences” include practice in high-fidelity contexts such as work performed on simulated patients, virtual patients, actual patients in College clinics, and, especially, in community clinics via the rotations program undertaken through the RWJF grant. “These community experiences,” Dr. Knight noted, provide “the real value addition to the students’ community experience. What our community partners can offer that we cannot here at the College is the opportunity for our students to see up to four patients in the morning and four more in the afternoon.”
The fourth category, “self-evaluation” is the final key factor in the College’s competency model. After students perform a procedure, they fill out a self-evaluation form on how well they feel they performed. It helps student recognize what they know and don’t know. Self-evaluation ability also is impacted by the RWJF grant, as the opportunity to self-evaluate increases with the increased numbers of patients seen by students in community clinics.
For more information, email Bill Bike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In October 2005, 45 dental student volunteers along with 22 community dentists and 10 hygienists provided almost $70,000 worth of care to 267 patients at the North Carolina Missions of Mercy Dental Clinic in Burlington, NC. The two-day, 30-operatory clinic has gained nationwide recognition as a winner of USA Weekend Magazine’s “Make A Difference Day” Competition and will be featured in the April 23rd edition. Click here for full story.
Alex Ham, a University of California, San Francisco dental student wrote about his experience rotating at a rural health clinic, and his article has been published in the Eureka Times Standard. You can read the article by visiting the Times Standard website at: http://www.times-standard.com/fastsearchresults/ci_3578123.
University of North Carolina required all second-year dental students to take "Behavior, Communication and Culture." In it, students do numerous observations of dental student/dental patient interactions and write an essay in which they "process" their reflections on this experience. Working in groups, the students also make a video of a simulated dental patient/dental provider interaction. The videos, which have been transferred to a CD-ROM, deal with various topics, including cross-cultural issues in dental diagnosis and treatment, working with adolescent patients, and delivering “bad news.” If you are interested in any of the material, including the CDs, please contact Margot B. Stein, Ph.D. at email@example.com.
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