The College of Dentistry (COD) aims to prepare an oral health care workforce competent and committed to addressing oral health needs of vulnerable and underserved populations, and a workforce that plays its part in eliminating health disparities. Service Learning curriculum is integrated throughout all four years of dental school. It is a progressive, which includes didactic components as well as introducing students to a variety of community-based, hands-on experiences outside of the College. We believe approach is equally and mutually beneficial to both our dental students and community members.
To better prepare dental students for careers in diverse settings and to encourage their interest in working with the underserved populations, the College has partnered
with organizations throughout Chicagoland, Illinois and Colorado, and internationally, including Guatemala, China and Tanzania.
Over the first three years at the College, students are introduced to issues contributing to health disparities in this country, thereby impacting a person's oral health status. While visiting local communities and community organizations, students are provided with first-hand learning experiences including providing oral health education in elementary schools and engaging in a variety of volunteer opportunities which lend themselves to explore the following topics:
access to health care,
social determinants of health,
risk factors, and
literacy, language, & culture.
The COD engages all D4s in service-learning experiences as part of a required course which involves community-based rotations at partnering clinics. Students devote a minimum of 50 days at these sites providing care to underserved urban, rural, and special-needs populations including children, developmentally disabled, HIV-positive and geriatric patients. To learn more about these clinics, visit our Partnerships page
For more information about Community Based Education efforts at COD, please contact Khatija Noorullah at (312) 355-4549 or Kari Radjewski at (312) 355-4598.