WesternU College of Dental Medicine

Innovations in Dental Education: An Online Self-Directed Learning Module for Local Anesthesia

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The College of Dental Medicine is committed to the discovery of new methods and techniques that will enhance its curriculum and improve the learning experience for its students. Recently, CDM faculty members developed and delivered a course in Local Anesthesia for second-year dental students to prepare them for their entrance into clinic. The class was comprised of four main components that spanned over a period of seven weeks: the online module, in-class review, simulated experience, and clinical application.

The online self-directed learning module built on a gaming platform is a highly interactive, engaging environment, which allows students to interact with the content and perform assessments multiple times until they achieve proficiency in mastering and applying the didactic material. Also included are clinical cases requiring application of critical thinking skills through problem solving and writing abstracts. After the completion of the online component, students gathered in a classroom for a review session presented in the form of Jeopardy gaming. Dr. Robert Hasel, Associate Dean for Simulation, Immersion, and Digital Learning, described the team-based review session as “rambunctious, chaotic, loud, and loads of fun.” Following the review, students were given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills by participating in small group learning activities and simulating local anesthesia injections using skulls provided by the anatomy department. In the final element of the course, students performed local anesthesia injections on each other under the guidance and supervision of faculty mentors.

Throughout the Local Anesthesia course, students demonstrated their knowledge and proficiency in three key areas: anatomy, procedural technique, and pharmacology. The course moves the College forward in realizing its mission of educating and training highly competent clinical practitioners. The integration of this unique and innovative educational platform illustrates how Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine continues to be at the forefront of dental education.

Team of CDM students and faculty visit school of dentistry in Chile

During a two week trip from May 24th through June 7th, two students and two faculty members traveled to the University of Concepción in Chile. This was a student driven project lead by second year students Christopher Burke and Adrian Time and supported by Associate Dean Dr. Timothy Martinez and Dr. Bertha Alarcon. The purpose of this project was to study dental public health programs utilized by the UoC School of Dentistry, as well as to establish an international relationship between the two dental schools. While in Chile, the team visited integrated, IPE-style, multidisciplinary clinics located in various urban and rural underprivileged areas in Chile.

Additionally, The University of Concepcion provided an intensive training course to teach the WesternU team how to deliver a painless form of minimally invasive caries halting technique known as Interim Restorative Technique (IRT). IRT is utilized in areas within Chile with limited access to dental care, to halt or slow down the caries process in patients. After training, the WesternU team had an opportunity to use the IRT at a rural school-based dental care program. Studying the different forms of public health delivery models and techniques is an invaluable opportunity for our College to find new ways to help our communities here at home.

WesternU Faculty Present at 12th Annual Conference of Ghanaian Health Care Professionals

Pictured Left to Right: Drs. Jenny Tjahjono, Andrew Pumerantz, Effuah Harris, and Bertha Alarcon

Born and raised in Ghana, CDM faculty member, Dr. Effuah Harris, was honored to present at the 12th Annual Conference of Ghanaian Health Care Professionals, held by the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation. This conference took place in Atlanta, Georgia and focused on the theme — Towards Healthcare Overhaul in Africa: A Dialogue between Health Professionals on the Continent and in the Diaspora. Along with Dr. Harris, Dr. Andrew Pumerantz, a faculty member from our medical school, presented on the topic of, Western Diabetes Institute: Cross ­Disciplinary Care and Interprofessional Education: Global Access, Alignment, and Scale-Up. Drs. Bertha Alarcon, Patricia Greene, and Jenny Tjahjono also collaborated in Dr. Harris’ presentation.

CDA Presents | Anaheim 2014

Written by DMD 2016 student Nicholas Bumacod.

From May 15-17, 2014 the California Dental Association (CDA) held its annual CDA Presents meeting in Anaheim, CA. College of Dental Medicine (CDM) students were among the attendees, along with alumni from our Classes of 2013 and 2014. Alumni found the annual meeting invaluable for its continuing education courses, which further improved upon their restorative clinical skills gained while at WesternU CDM. Over 35 current students attended the Student Networking Event on Friday evening. The event, put on by the Student Representatives of the CDA, was a fantastic opportunity for students to network with dental students across California. Attendees learned about topics ranging from how to start a practice from scratch, how to avoid making common mistakes in private practice, and what types of insurance to purchase after graduation. Overall, it was fantastic to see CDM start to forge its own legacy in the future of dentistry through the representation of students, both past and present, at CDA Presents, Anaheim 2014.

Incoming Dental Students Benefit from Summer Prep Program

CDM Student Participants of the Summer Medical Sciences Prep Program 2013

CDM Student Participants and Instructors of the 2013 Summer Medical Sciences Prep Program

The College of Dental Medicine is devoted to the individual success of every student, evident in the existence of our Summer Medical Sciences Prep Program (SMSPP). The SMSPP is a five-week introductory program created to provide incoming students with the keys to success in the highly rigorous first year of dental school.

Program participants are presented introductory courses in Microbiology, Immunology, and Gross Anatomy. In the process they gain exposure to cadavers found in the anatomy lab while being administered exams very similar to what they will experience in the Fall. This will also be the second consecutive year participants will receive didactic lectures and clinical experiences specific to dental medicine, providing a glimpse into their next four years. In addition, the Learning Enhancement & Academic Development (LEAD) office conducts a series of workshops on improving study skills, test-taking strategies, as well as stress and anxiety management.  Through the SMSPP, participants will meet their fellow dental classmates as well as students from our other health professions colleges. Although the SMSPP requires a considerable time commitment, there are opportunities to mix, mingle, and enjoy many of the sights Southern California has to offer.

This year’s SMSPP will take place June 17, 2014 – July 19, 2014.  For more information, contact DMD 2016 students Christopher Burke (cburke@westernu.edu) or Christian Andrus (candrus@westernu.edu).


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