International Elective Externship Presentation

IMG_2119Faculty, staff, students, and residents from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) packed into classroom G-301 at 100 East Newton Street on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 for a presentation from GSDM students who participated in GSDM’s International Elective Externships during the 2017 – 2018 academic year.

The students presented on their international externship experiences to an audience of over 100 GSDM community members including Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter.

Over the course of this academic year, 34 DMD students and 4 Pediatric Dentistry residents, and 1 Oral Surgery resident traveled to Haiti, Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico to deliver dental and oral health care to people in need. The students were participating in GSDM’s International Elective Externship Program.

The International Elective Externship program provides fourth-year dental students and residents with an opportunity to go to developing countries to use their knowledge and the clinical skills that they have learned at GSDM. The Office of Global and Population Health (GPH) works closely with Non-Government Organizations (NGO) to ensure excellent educational experiences in global service.

While working under their preceptors’ guidance, it is hoped that through this experience, students will gain a greater appreciation for challenges and barriers that are faced in global oral health care delivery. In addition to becoming more well-rounded health professionals, they are building translatable skills and behaviors that strengthen their personal and professional commitment to care for vulnerable populations of patients who do not have access to oral healthcare.

During the May 1 presentation, students from the various global service locations presented about their experiences in the countries that they traveled to, and how these experiences have contributed to their dental education.

Jonathan Ye DMD 18 presented on the trip to Haiti, which was also attended by Bowen Zhou DMD 19. Both students volunteered with the Dentists for Humanity organization and were stunned by the desperate need for care in the area, and the way the local people appreciated their work.

Michael Nardi DMD 18 was one of three volunteers with Cape CARES in Honduras. The volunteers were; Selena Francis DMD 18, and Sasha Manchanda DMD 18.

A mix of students and alumni volunteered in Guatemala with Dentistry for All. Scott Jegard DMD 18 presented on the work he, Clayton Celander DMD 18, Nikhil Malhan DMD 18, and Diala Chahine DMD 18 did over the course of their week in Guatemala.

A new trip this year took three students and an alumnus to Bolivia and Colombia with the group Healing the Children. Jessica Lam DMD 18, Marti Gabriella DMD 19, Melissa Anderson DMD 19, and Dr. Mohamed Bayoumy DMD 16 and OMFS resident spent a week treating two vastly underserved populations.

A second organization, LIGA International, also partnered with GSDM to send student groups to Guatemala in 2018. Mira Daljeet DMD 18, Lauren Liebman DMD 18, Anish Ghai DMD 18, Daniel Spinnato DMD 18, Hashem Shehadeh DMD 18, Thomas Maher DMD 18, Ayinkeran Gunarajasingam DMD 18, Duwaraka Gunarajasingam DMD 18, Shawn Jones DMD 18, Ms. Kathy Held, Assistant Professor and Director of Global Initiatives, Dr. Thomas Kilgore, professor in the Oral & Maxillofacial Department, and Ms. Sandy Acevedo, Hygienist, Dental Health Center participated in the LIGA International externship program. The group was also fortunate enough to be able to do some sightseeing, as they visited old Mayan ruins and a volcano park.

Jayesh Patel DMD 18 was the next speaker, as he discussed their experiences in Panama with the group Nevosh. Four students in total visited Panama, and many noted how sparse resources in the clinics were, yet patients were very well mannered and thankful for treatment. GSDM students on this trip were; Tien Do DMD 18, Nobiru Suzuki DMD 18, and Matthew Williams DMD 18.

Nick Capezio DMD 18 was part of the GSDM group who volunteered with Superemos in Esteli, Nicaragua. This group was unique in that they only treated pediatric patients. This location also works in conjunction with GSDM’s fluoride varnishing program that is led by Dr. Michelle Henshaw, Associate Dean for Global and Population Health. Other students on the trip were; Bakr Amin DMD 18, Tamara Gordon DMD 18, Sarah Kim DMD 18, and Stephen Prieve DMD 18.

The group of Pediatric Dentistry residents that participated in an elective externship program also ventured to Nicaragua with the Rio San Juan Relief group. Drs. Grant Murray, Tess Alonso, Jasveen Singh, and Kali Stewart represented GSDM on the trip.

The final group to present worked in conjunction with Project Stretch in Mexico. Sloane Kaminski-Ditzek DMD 18, Corrine Kunkle DMD 18, Brittany Tosto DMD 18, and Dr. Ana Keohane, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of General Dentistry volunteered for one week and worked primarily on pediatric patients.

Following the presentations, the audience was treated to a video and photo slideshow highlighting everyone’s experiences during their International Elective Exchange.

Dean Hutter then delivered his remarks, “to me, this is a life-changing opportunity for each and every one of you who participated in an externship and I could not be any more proud of you. I also thank Dr. Henshaw and the Office of Global & Population Health for making this possible.” He then presented each participant with Certificates of Recognition for their commendable work in spreading oral healthcare across the globe.

More photos from the presentation can be found on Flickr.