With a jam-packed schedule throughout the year, our dental students do cherish the few weeks they have away from school. This past month eight of our students elected to spend their time off by taking part in a visit to Kenya, where they were able to assist in providing dental care for those most in need. Third year student Debra Peterson and fourth year student Ramiz Morgannam describe their visit and its impact below.
“What do you get when you spend 12 days on a clinical mission trip with 8 dental students, 3 pre-dents and 2 supervising dentists? Western University of Dental Medicine students, in partnership with Missions of Hope International, did some amazing things in Kenya. Over 125 patients were screened/radiographed, 91 patients treated, 116 individual procedures, 100 extractions several fillings, and two endodontically treated and restored central incisors. Fourth year students Ramiz Morgannam, Kerolos Morkos, Rose Lin, third year students Tommy Kim, Nicholas Bumacod, Ivan Sobrantes, Debra Peterson, and second year student Laine Janzen, all gave a little of their time and skill to help ease the suffering of the poorest people in Nairobi’s worst slum area. These people have so little, it was a privilege to be able to give them back their smiles. After clinical rotation ended, the students were able to play with the children at both of the remote schools in Joska and go on safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. All agreed that it was a life changing and incredible experience and would like to thank Western University of Health Sciences, Drs. Bruce Rogers, Shawn Yu, and Missions of Hope International for giving us the opportunity to make such a trip possible.” – Debra Peterson
“My trip to Kenya with Chino Valley Community Church was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It made me really appreciate what we have on a day-to-day basis. It was an eye opening experience. The photos we see of children in Africa were really put to life when we got to walk through some of the poorest areas and interact with many of the families there. Being a dental provider there was very rewarding as well. It is always a rewarding experience when people in such need can be taken out of pain. Every day was filled with new feats and I can’t wait to be a part of an experience like this again.” – Ramiz Mogannam
CDM faculty member Dr. Tobias Boehm has been awarded an intramural grant for his proposal entitled “Association of Chronic Periodontitis with Eye Conditions”. Dr. Boehm’s overarching goal is to further confirm a link between dental and vision health.
“Dentists usually do not coordinate exams with optometrists, but we noticed that patients complaining of vision changes tend to have more severe gum diseases compared to healthy patients of similar age. Since the vision changes reported by these patients might be early signs of serious eye diseases such as acute macular degeneration that can cause blindness, we want to confirm a possible relationship between severe gum disease and serious eye diseases. Therefore we aim to recruit about 80 subjects who either have experienced vision changes or who are healthy, and have these evaluated by a periodontist and an optometrist at the same time.”
“During this evaluation we will look for clinical signs of gum and eye disease, and will also measure the degree of inflammation at a molecular level in the gums, blood and eyes to determine if a complaint of vision changes is associated with measurable degenerative changes in both eyes and gums. If this relationship is confirmed by this study, it could mean that optometrists might soon start asking about your gums at your next eye exam.” – Dr. Tobias Boehm
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.
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.
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.