BU Today

Science & Tech

Goldman School’s summer youth program
inspires tomorrow’s dentists

Students in Program White Coat got a taste of professional dentistry this summer

It wasn’t an uncommon sight this summer at the Goldman School of Dental Medicine: a group of people in white coats sitting hunched over a conference room table, scratching notes on slips of white paper. Except in this case, only one pair of feet was able to touch the ground.

This was the inaugural class of Program White Coat, a week-long summer program at SDM designed to get young people interested in dentistry as a career. White Coat participants are “dentists for a week,” exploring dentistry through educational lessons, role-playing, and field trips, among other activities.

They learn from SDM faculty, staff, and students about dentistry basics such as X-rays, the evolution of teeth, human dentition and sealants, oral hygiene, and pouring impressions. Throughout the program, dentists-to-be were guided around campus by Captain Cavity Fighter (CCF), a masked superhero dedicated to the eradication of dental woes.

“The program was very well received by the children,” says Ana Karina Mascarenhas, White Coat’s director and a SDM associate professor and director of the division of dental public health. “They were engaged and enthusiastic, and by the end of the week had a genuine interest in dentistry.”

White Coat is coordinated by Mascarenhas; Kathleen Held, White Coat’s curriculum developer, a SDM assistant professor in the department of general dentistry and assistant director of extramural programs; Jedediah Horwitt, program coordinator for White Coat and the SDM division of dental public health; and Joseph Ayitey-Adjin (SDM’09), White Coat’s unmasked counselor and masked superhero.

According to Held, what truly impressed was the participation of the BUSDM community. “At least 25 people from BUSDM donated their time in one way or another,” she says. “The positive response was just overwhelming.”

Plans are underway to repeat Program White Coat next summer and to expand enrollment to 15-20 students.