Students Reflect on Externship Experiences Part 1

China Externship Students and Faculty Advisor, Dr. Su
China Externship Students and Faculty Advisor, Dr. Su

On Thursday, January 18, 2018 eight DMD students at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) gave presentations on their International Externship Exchange Program experiences in China, and India. Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, Dr. Laisheng Chou, and Dr. Michelle Henshaw hosted the presentations.

China Presentation

Jaehyuk Choi DMD 18, Sloane Kaminski-Ditzel DMD 18, Michelle Poon DMD 18, and Thomas Santacroce DMD 18 spent three weeks abroad visiting at Peking University School of Stomatology in Beijing, the Fourth Military Medical University School of Stomatology in Xi’an, and the Jiao Tong University School of Stomatology affiliated with the Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital. They were joined by Dr. Mingfang Su, Clinical Professor in the Department of Periodontology.

Their first stop was the Peking University School of Stomatology in Beijing. The students were most astonished at the volume of patients who were seen at the School every day, with an average of 2,300 outpatient treatments done daily, and over a half a million seen annually. Some people even line up days in advance, as they travel to Beijing from rural parts of China. The students were able to spend extensive time in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, where they observed a cleft lip surgery, tumor resection, and neck dissection. The rest of their time was spent observing in the Department of Periodontology, Department of General Dentistry, Department of Prosthodontics, Department of Implantology, and the Department of Oral Medicine.

Aside from the clinical experiences, the students raved about the new cuisines and culture they were fortunate enough to experience. The group visited the Great Wall of China, Wangfujing, the Forbidden City, Tiananman Square, and Jingshan Park.

India Externship Students with their Faculty Advisor, Dr. Henshaw
India Externship Students with their Faculty Advisor, Dr. Henshaw

Upon leaving Beijing, Dr. Su and the students headed to Xi’an where they spent a week at the Fourth Military Medical University, School of Stomatology (FMMU). Xi’an is a city full of rich history, and the students were very excited about visiting the Xian City Wall, Muslim Street, Shaanxi History Museum, Wild Goose Pagoda, and the historic Terra Cotta Warriors.

FMMU School of Stomatology has its own hospital that focuses solely on oral surgery, patient dental care, and dentistry related research. It also recently obtained advancement to Air Force Status. While at FMMU, the students were offered a very hands-on experience as they worked in the microsuture lab, observed sclerozing therapy for vascular abnormalities, worked in the digitally generated stimulation labs, and even participated in patient rounds, case discussions, and diagnoses.

The final stop in China was Shanghai and the Jiao Tong University School of Stomatology/Ninth People’s Hospital. Here they observed an interesting connective tissue grafting technique, where the donor tissue was placed on a small sterilized bamboo slab, the epithelial tissue was removed, and the remaining connective tissue was attached to the donor site. The Ninth People’s Hospital is known for having Implantology as its own specialty, and doctors here place upwards of 6,000 implants a year. The students were able to observe many implants right in the clinic.

Shanghai is also a major tourist attraction, and the students visited Shanghai Tower, the Eastern Pearl, KTV (a karaoke bar), the City Planning Museum, Pudong, China Art Museum and Jiang’an Temple.


Scott Jegard DMD 18, Jiffry Kolonda DMD 18, Jessica Lam DMD 18, and Stephen Prieve DMD 18 visited Manipal University College of Dental Science (MCODS) in Manipal, India from September 5 – 19, 2017. They were accompanied by Dr. Michelle Henshaw, Associate Dean for Global & Population Health.

After their first day of orientation and a welcome dinner, the group spent the next day shadowing in the Department of Oral Medicine & Radiology. They observed the used of digital panoramic x-rays and the CBCT machine. Manipal treats many cases of Oral Submucous Fibrosis (OSMF), which is a chronic, premalignant disease that affects any part of the oral cavity, and can include the pharynx. Epithelial atrophy follows, leading to stiffness of the oral mucosa, trismus, and an inability to eat. This is common in India due to the cultural practice of chewing arecanut, which is the fruit of the areca palm. Unfortunately, there is no cure and all treatment is strictly palliative.

The third day of their visit allowed Dr. Henshaw and the students to venture outside of the clinic as they visited Delta Beach and the Udupi Krishna Temple. The food was also a huge hit. To finish out the week, the students observed in the Department of Oral Pathology, the Immunofluorescence Laboratory, and the Department of Radiotherapy. They learned how to slice, make and view histological slides, and how to tag and fluoresce different cell markers. They also spent time in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry where they observed the use of lasers in the pediatric clinic.

Community outreach is a major component of the MCODS curriculum, and the GSDM students were able to participate alongside the MCODS students during community service events in their second week. They visited local schools to educate the students about good oral health practices, and observed the school faculty providing screenings and dental care right in the schools. They also visited a community health center and an outreach dental clinic in a rural primary school. MCODS is even equipped with a Mobile Dental Clinic, which visits the most rural areas of India and provides dental treatment in the mobile unit.

While it was a busy clinical experience, the students and Dr. Henshaw were able to visit many of the tourist attractions in India. They also took a side trip to the Taj Mahal and Agra, visited New Delhi, and the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.