Student Elizabeth Razdolsky Earns NIH Research Fellowship
Posted on 9/23/2014
Elizabeth Razdolsky, a student in the DMD/PhD program at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, recently earned a research Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD and Other Dual Doctoral Degree Fellow (F30), Razdolsky will receive $48,467 per year for four years for her research.
Working in the Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration and mentored by Dr. Luisa DiPietro, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Razdolsky is studying a protein called pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), “which plays a role in many cell processes in the human body,” Razdolsky said. “This research award involved PEDF’s effect on the wound healing process.”
Razdolsky hopes to discover how PEDF “regulates blood vessel formation and scar formation in wounds,” she said. “These studies may suggest future therapeutic options for tissue regeneration, fibrosis, and cancer. This work can hopefully be translated into the oral cavity in the future.”
In the spring, Razdolsky applied for the Fellowship, called an “F Award,” by submitting a research proposal to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the NIH.
“This research grant is a long writing process that involves lots of preliminary studies and a background in research,” Razdolsky explained. “It requires a great team and research lab to support you throughout the way, since there are a lot of writing drafts and intensive paperwork in order for the process to go smoothly.
“Dr. DiPietro is a wonderful mentor and I would not have been able to do this without her, Wendy Cerny, Katherine Long, Virginia Buglio, or Mateusz Wietecha. I had a wonderful support team,” Razdolsky said
In the future, Razdolsky plans to “continue doing research as well as dentistry, which would possibly involve a post-doctoral research and specialty program.”
Dr. Evans Awarded Honorary Degree from Franklin & Marshall
Posted on 7/8/2014
Franklin & Marshall College of Lancaster, PA, recently awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree to Dr. Caswell Evans, the College of Dentistry’s Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences Dr. Evans earned his BA in English from Franklin & Marshall in 1965.
Dr. Daniel R. Porterfield, President of Franklin & Marshall, told Dr. Evans that the institution wanted “to honor you for your work as a strong and effective advocate for health promotion and disease prevention and your deep commitment to health equity and eliminating health disparities.”
Prior to joining the College faculty in 2004, Dr. Evans served as Executive Editor and Project Director of the U.S. Surgeon General’s landmark 2000 report on the state of the nation’s oral health, Oral Health in America. Through that report, Dr. Evans popularized the term “silent epidemic” to describe the lack of oral healthcare for minorities and the poor.
At the College, the Division of Prevention and Public Health Sciences plans and executes the College’s community-based clinical and non-clinical extramural experiences and public health coursework. In the community-based Extramural Education Program, fourth-year students participate in service-learning experiences in community-based clinics, providing care for underserved urban, rural, and special needs populations.
Dr. Evans noted that, “To be honored in this way based on my work in, and contribution to, improving population health was a thrill and quite special.”
Dr. Doubleday receives Jon Daniel Teaching Award
Posted on 7/3/2014
Congratulations to Dr. Alison Doubleday on receiving the 2014 Jon Daniel Teaching Award. This award confers upon her the distinction as a Jon Daniel Teaching Scholar.
Dr. Doubleday’s vision, organizational skills, and important work in designing and implementing the new curriculum were all cited as impetus for her nomination. Noted for her dedication to revitalizing the anatomy curriculum, Dr. Doubleday was instrumental in developing many new teaching tools including SoftChalk, use of iPads and videos in anatomy lab. Dr. Doubleday’s commitment to the COD’s academic mission and availability to both students and colleagues make her an outstanding choice for this award. Dr. Doubleday acknowledges that,"learning is a complex process and students approach this process differently. In order to give students the help they need, it's not enough for a teacher to be a content expert, teachers must be patient, creative and supportive."
The Daniel Award was established in 2010 in memory of longtime Oral Biology faculty member Dr. Jon Daniel, to honor instructors making exemplary contributions to UIC dental students education. The award honors many of Dr. Daniels' qualities, including, the ability to engage students' interest and curiosity, to motivate and challenge students and to respond to student needs. Dr. Daniel passed away in 2009.
College of Dentistry Helps Start Library in Guatemala
Posted on 7/29/2014
University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry senior students Hussain Ali, Alexandria Balich, Joseph Beatty, and Cristian Pavel embarked on an international rotation to Guatemala this past year. The students’ primary objective was providing dental care for 55 children in preschool through first grade. However, it was clear that the Guatemalan youngsters were desperate for books. The UIC students worked with Khatija Noorullah, the College’s Clinical Community Academic Manager, to request children’s books from the College community for the children in Guatemala. Together, college faculty, staff, and students donated around 100 books.
“They were able to start a library in the school where they provided the clinical dental care, Susanna Wesley School,” Noorullah said. “It was great of the students to go the extra mile and for the College to participate so wholeheartedly.” The school is located in Camanachaj in Guatemala’s rural highlands. It educates children in pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade.
Dr. Johnson to head the Department of Endodontics
Posted on 7/23/2014
Dr. Bradford Johnson received his DDS degree from Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia. After completing a general practice residency and practicing general dentistry for several years, he earned his specialty certificate in endodontic at the UIC College of Dentistry. He began his teaching career in the Department of Endodontics in 1991 and became Director of Postdoctoral Endodontics in 2005. He has a Master of Health Professions Education degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a Fellow of the American Dental Education Association Leadership Institute in 2005-2006. Dr. Johnson is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics.
Dr. Johnson has published over 70 articles and abstracts and is coauthor of five textbook chapters. His primary research interests include: clinical decision making, dental education, clinical outcomes research, and tissue regeneration.
Additionally, Dr. Johnson is a site visit consultant for the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has served on the National Board Dental Exam Test Construction Committee, Part 2, both the Endodontics specialty committee and Component B case-based committee.
Currently Dr. Johnson serves on the Scientific Advisory and Manuscript Review Panel of the Journal of Endodontics and has served on the AAE Research and Scientific Affairs Committee, Continuing Education Committee, Evidence Based Endodontics Committee, and various AAE ad hoc committees. He is past president of the Illinois Association of Endodontists and Edgar D Coolidge Endodontic Study Club. In May 2015, he will begin a 3-year term on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Endodontists.
Faculty Honored for Teaching Excellence
Posted on 7/22/2014
Dr. Alison Doubleday, Assistant Professor, Oral Biology, and Dr. Fatemeh Afshari, Clinical Assistant Professor, Restorative Dentistry were selected to receive the 2013-14 Teaching Recognition Awards by peers through UIC’s Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).
Thirty-two people applied for this year’s award. Recipients are selected by a CETL subcommittee of nine previous UIC faculty award recipients considers candidate statements, student feedback, peer reviews, course materials, mentoring of students, curriculum development, and implementation of new pedagogies and methods. The council was impressed with Dr. Doubleday’s and Dr. Afshari’s range of teaching activities and program development.
“The fact that this is a peer-reviewed award means a great deal to me,” Dr. Doubleday said. “There are many exceptional teachers at UIC and I’m flattered and humbled that my teaching is recognized in this way by other UIC faculty. I am passionate about teaching, and I believe the first priority and responsibility for all faculty members at educational institutions is to help guide and facilitate the learning process for students. Through our teaching, we can instill curiosity about the world, as well as a desire to make connections across disciplines. In doing so, we provide students with the means to become life-long learners and we set them up for success in any field.”
“It’s in our nature to always better ourselves and strive for the best no matter what we do,” Dr. Afshari said. “This is what I expect from my students—and myself.” Asking oneself “why” is crucial to learning, Dr. Afshari explained. “My philosophy has been to pursue my students to learn by asking this simple question and, in turn, seeking the answer via an evidence-based, self-directed quest. My philosophy coincides with the school’s mission of encouraging learners to become active participants in their own learning experience.”
“For me, awards like this reaffirm the importance that UIC places on student learning,” Dr. Doubleday said. “By recognizing and supporting the efforts of teachers, UIC is investing in student learning. Awards like this also encourage faculty members to try new teaching methodologies.”
“It’s nice to be recognized for the work we do as faculty on a daily basis and to be appreciated for our efforts,” Dr. Afshari. “These awards also assist the College of Dentistry in being recognized within the UIC campus.”
Dr. Afshari and Dr. Doubleday thanked colleagues and students who wrote letters of recommendation, faculty who have inspired them in their careers, and CETL.
Study Correlates Patient Diagnoses with Implant Therapy Outcomes
Posted on 7/15/2014
The COD’s Wach Research Grant Program Committee awarded the Department of Restorative Dentistry $15,000 to examine the “Correlation between diagnostic complexity and treatment outcomes: a prospective study.” Co-investigators are Dr. Fatemeh Afshari, Clinical Assistant Professor, and Dr. Cortino Sukotjo and Dr. Judy Yuan, Assistant Professors, Restorative Dentistry.
Few studies have measured outcomes of treatments provided or correlated treatment to the diagnostic complexity, patients treated in a predoctoral dental or postgraduate prosthodontic programs. This research attempts to determine patient diagnoses and correlating to outcomes of implant therapy within a clinical setting, including assessment of patient expectations and satisfaction.
A pilot diagnosis and therapy-tracking database for implant patients was developed and implemented within the Department of Restorative Dentistry, and is successfully evaluating outcomes of implant-retained removable partial dentures, fixed complete dentures, and implant-retained overdentures on a trial basis.
“However, this research methodology can be adapted and improved from a paper format to a dynamic web-based database,” Dr. Afshari explained. “To this end, in the proposed study, treatment outcomes will be prospectively documented via a secure web application—Research Electronic Data Capture, or REDCAP.
“As such, it will potentially have use in venues other than UIC, thereby fostering broad clinical research collaboration and large patient population outcomes research to improve patient treatment and maintenance,” she added.
“By systematically analyzing a broad array of diagnostic factors via the prosthodontic diagnostic index and learning their associations with treatment outcomes, current and future methods for patient therapy are expected to be refined,” Dr. Afshari said. “Most importantly, a more comprehensive assessment of patient perspectives will further focus therapy approaches towards patient benefits from functional, psychological, and economic perspectives.
“Collaboration with additional institutions will more readily occur because the web-based database approach will provide a systematic, user-friendly platform for data collection,” she concluded. “Externally funded research will be more likely, and a larger patient population will yield even more accurate information regarding the link between prognostic factors and treatment outcomes."
The researchers thanked the Wach Research Grant Program Committee, chaired by Dr. Guy Adami, Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, for not only seeing merit in the proposal, but for giving the researchers opportunities to revise and improve it.
The project has received additional support from Restorative Dentistry Department Head Dr. Stephen Campbell and Postgraduate Program Directors Dr. Kent Knoernschild and Dr. Rand Harlow. Departmental Hygienist Mayra Suh and Clinical Director Stephanie Clarke also will work on the project.
Student awarded prestigious NIH Fellowship
Posted on 6/4/2014
COD student Elizabeth Razdolsky is the recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD and Other Dual Doctoral Degree Fellows (F30) from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Razdolsky, has a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and is currently a 4th year in the COD’s DMD/PhD Program. She will receive $48,467 a year to study a protein called pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), which may regulate blood vessel formation and scar formation in wounds. These studies may suggest future therapeutic options for tissue regeneration, fibrosis and cancer.
The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD and Other Dual Doctoral Degree Fellows (F30) provides a maximum of six years support to students pursuing both DDS/DMD and PhD degrees. In addition to the annual stipend and partial tuition provided, funds are available for other training-related expenses. Applicants must be enrolled in a DDS/DMD program at an accredited U.S. dental school and accepted in a related scientific PhD (or equivalent degree) program. Students attending any accredited U.S. dental school may apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents at the time of award. More information on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards can be found here.
Gov. Quinn signs law restoring adult dental care for Medicaid
Posted on 6/18/2014
Modernizing an outdated Medicaid system, Governor Quinn signed legislation on June 16, 2014 restoring previously authorized adult dental care to Illinois’ three million Medicaid recipients. The legislation is “part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have access to quality healthcare and improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Illinois.”
The inclusion of dental care in the bill emphasizes dentistry’s importance in maintaining a person’s overall health. Prior to the signing of this bill, adult dental services were limited to emergency services.
More information pertaining to the signing of the bill can be found here. To review Senate Bill 741, click here; specifics regarding the adult dental benefit changes can be found on page 206 of the PDF document.
Student summer research program underway
Posted on 6/17/2014
The annual Multidisciplinary Oral Science Training (MOST) is June 2 through August 22nd, 2014. A symposium for students project presentations is August 19.
MOST is directed by Dr. Ana Bedran-Russo of the Department of Restorative Dentistry. Student participants are undergraduates exploring career opportunities in biomedical research and health sciences. Students hail from UIUC, UIC, Indiana University, Loyola University Chicago, DePaul among others. Student's mentors are leading researchers in UIC's Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Liberal Arts & Sciences (Department of Chemistry). Funding for MOST comes from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of National Institutes of Health (NIDCR).
The MOST training primarily takes place at the College of Dentistry, but labs in Medicine, Pharmacy and Chemistry will also host students.
MOST training reflects the College of Dentistry’s mission to serve as a conduit for future scientists and clinician scientists. The program, along with NIDCR, believes that early exposure to research experiences inspires individuals to pursue careers in biomedical research, and hopefully in oral health research. Success of the program is measured students participating in MOST later enrolling in oral health graduate programs or biomedical clinician scientist programs (such as PhD/DMD or PhD/MD).
More information on MOST and its role in the COD, can be found here.
Congratulations to the 2014 Graduates!
Posted on 5/29/2014
2014 is the end of an era, as UIC matriculated its last Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) class this year. Going forward, all graduates will be conferred the title of Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
The 2014 commencement ceremony featured Dr. Mitra Dutta, UIC’s Vice Chancellor for Research, greeting the student body on behalf of the University. Dr. Seema Ashrafi, the College of Dentistry's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs extended greetings from the College. Additionally Ms. Mallory Marquie, Dental Student Council President extended greetings from the 2014 graduating class. Finally the keynote speaker was Interim Dean, Dr. G. William Knight.
Dr. Luisa DiPietro led the DDS and International Dentist Degree Program (IDDP) in the Dentist’s Pledge.
Class speakers included Dr. Thiago Vinhas, President of the IDDP Class of 2014, and Dr. Nisha Mehta, the 2014 DDS Class President.
In his written statement, Dr. Knight had this message for the class of 2014, “I extend to you our sincere congratulation on this extraordinary achievement in your professional life. You have prepared well, and with the help of the staff and faculty of this college you are now ready to enter the exciting and rewarding challenges of patient care, scholarly pursuit, and professional leadership.”
A short video of the commencement ceremony can be found here
Dr. Clark M. Stanford accepts position as COD Dean
Posted on 5/22/2014
Clark M. Stanford, DDS, Ph.D., has accepted the position of Dean of the UIC College of Dentistry, effective October 1, 2014, pending Board of Trustees approval. This appointment follows a national search that brought three finalists to campus in February. Dr. Stanford presently serves as Associate Dean for Research and Centennial Fund Professor for Clinical Research in the Dows Institute for Dental Research and the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.
Dr. Stanford has served on the University of Iowa faculty since 1992 and holds secondary appointments in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the College of Nursing. His administrative career has focused on aggressively building the basic, clinical and translational research capacity of his college while integrating the work of researchers and clinicians from multiple disciplines. In doing this he has recruited "magnet" researchers to the faculty, built biostatistical and infrastructure support for researchers applying for grants, and led the renovation of his college's research space using design that encourages collaboration. He currently runs the Office for Clinical Research and the outpatient Craniofacial Clinical Research Center in the University of Iowa's College of Dentistry. He is also a member of the management committee for the CTSA-supported Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he helps to organize and perform basic, translational and clinical research studies.
Dr. Stanford has authored 18 book chapters, 111 published papers and over 140 published research abstracts in areas related to osteoblastic gene expression, signaling pathways, clinical and translational research. His research is funded by the NIH, foundations and industry. He is the chair of the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia(s) Scientific Advisory Council and he serves on multiple national and international committees. He is the recipient of 15 academic awards including the 2007 State of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award (2007). As a practicing clinician Dr. Stanford sees private patients for complex rehabilitation in an intramural practice at the College with an emphasis on Craniofacial Anomalies. He received his BS (1984), DDS (1987), Certificate in Prosthodontics, and Ph.D. (Cell Biology; 1992) from the University of Iowa.
The full membership of the search committee, chaired by Bo Fernhall, Dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences, can be found at the search website. Bill Knight will continue his excellent service as Interim Dean until Stanford assumes role of the COD Dean later this fall.
Read more at UIC's news center.
Pediatric Dentistry Residents Provide Free Books to Youngsters
Posted on 11/4/2014
Second year University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry Pediatric Dentistry resident Dr. Jazmine B. Dillard and other members of the department are doing their part for child literacy. Since the beginning of 2014, with the support of Department Head Dr. Marcio da Fonseca, the department has partnered with Bernie’s Book Bank to provide free books to youngsters who are patients in the department.
Bernie’s Book Bank facilitates the collection, processing, and redistribution of new and used children’s books to significantly increase book ownership among at-risk infants, toddlers, and school-age children throughout Chicagoland.
“I was looking to start a literacy program when I saw information about Bernie’s on the Wintrust Financial Corp. billboard on the Mural Building next to the Kennedy Expressway,” Dillard explained.
She contacted Bernie’s, and they began an initiative in which Bernie’s provides individual bags of six age- and gender-appropriate books to residents to distribute to Pediatric Dentistry patients for free at both their initial and recall appointments.
“The patients and their families love it,” Dr. Dillard said.
Brian Floriani, Founder and Executive Director of Bernie’s Book Bank, recently spoke to Pediatric Dentistry residents at the College.
He thanked them for distributing books to their patients. “Our objective is to get to them at a young age,” Floriani explained. “Lots of these families don’t have books at all.”
He noted that everyone in the room was a reader as a child, which is a predictor of future success. “You literally read your way here,” Floriani said.
As part of the program, the residents talk to patients’ parents and ask them to both encourage youngsters to read, and to read to their children themselves.
"Even if the parent’s English isn’t strong or if he or she doesn’t speak English at all, getting the kid on his or her lap and flipping through the book makes a difference in the child’s literacy,” Floriani said, quoting a startling statistic that “in at-risk communities, 24% of children don’t even know what a book is.”
Only 30 minutes a day of reading, or being read to, makes a huge difference in child literacy, he said.
Floriani noted that supplies of books are “not an issue,” with book publishers and the public willing to donate children’s books to Bernie’s Book Bank. “It’s a logistics issue—how do we get the books to the children?” Floriani asked. “You’re doing that for us,” he told the residents.
Bernie’s hosts book drives in schools and churches and among corporations, and also has relationships with publishers who donate new books.
Floriani noted that “one book doesn’t do it. We want to have a constant flow of books. And, since we deal with a transient population, we want to set up a system in the area that no matter where a youngster receives social or healthcare services, books will be available.”
Bernie’s volunteers put in about 2,200 hours per month sorting and packing books.
To learn more about the College’s program, contact Dr. Dillard at email@example.com. For more information about Bernie’s, log on to www.berniesbookbank.org.
Faculty Promotions Announced
Posted on 11/13/2014
The Faculty Affairs Advisory Committee (FAAC) has announced this year’s University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry faculty promotions.
Promoted to Clinical Associate Professor were: Dr. Priscilla Chang, Restorative Dentistry; Dr. Mohamed Fayad, Endodontics; Dr. Rand Harlow, Restorative Dentistry; Dr. Nadia Kawar, Periodontics; and Dr. Adriana Semprum-Clavier, Restorative Dentistry.
Promoted to Clinical Professor were: Dr. Farhad Fayz, Restorative Dentistry; and Dr. Robert Rada, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences.
Dr. Praveen Gajendrareddy was promoted to Associate Professor of Periodontics.
Promoted to Professor were: Dr. Srilata Bagchi, Oral Biology; Dr. Michael Colvard, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences; Dr. G. William Knight, Restorative Dentistry; and Dr. Keiko Watanabe, Periodontics.
Mondopads Improve Small Group Learning
Posted on 10/30/2014
The College has recently invested in large electronic tablets to accompany the revamped curriculum in Small Group Learning (SGL) classes. Earlier this year, the College acquired five 55-inch Mondopads, which are being used by both students and faculty as digital whiteboards to promote collaborative and engaging learning.
A Mondopad is an all-in-one, wall-mountable computer and monitor equipped with a touch screen, Windows 7, and Microsoft Office. In addition, the College of Dentistry Mondopads have adjustable cameras (operated by remote control) and microphones for videoconferencing. The computers optimize the classroom experience by allowing students to work together and share information more easily.
“With its touch interface, Mondopad makes it simple for students to transition from the paper-based method of working through their SGL cases to a computer-based process,” said Nancy Norman, Instructional Development Specialist. “The new process offers more options than a paper-based method and is much more intuitive than a computer-based process that uses a mouse and keyboard.”
Mondopads bring a number of logistical improvements to the SGL program. Before, SGL groups used “large paper pads and easels” to display information and ideas, said Norman. Now, students can simply use the Mondopad’s whiteboard feature, which allows users to draw, create shapes, and type text onto a digital canvas.
In SGL, faculty and students use Mondopads to draw diagrams, display documents, and show relevant video clips. Incorporating the device into the SGL process not only uses less paper, but also makes the information more easily visible. Students and faculty can now use their iPads—which are part of the first and second year curriculum—to connect to the Mondopad through a special app and project their personal screen for the room to see.
In addition, the videoconferencing feature allows for both traditional videoconference meetings and enables the college to host new facilitator training, where they can view the group process via a one-sided connection, similar to a one-way mirror. Facilitators-in-training can observe SGL groups and discuss the process they are observing while also minimizing disruptions for students.
Norman first learned of this technology from Jay Dean, Director of Management Information Services. After attending a vendor fair to see a demo of the devices, Norman lent her support for the purchase.
“Since the new curriculum is fully implemented, the College felt this was a good time to install the technology,” she said. The acquisition of new technologies is just a small part of everything the College does to ensure that it remains a leader in innovative dental education.
“New technologies can be used in creative ways that [staff and faculty] never envisioned,” said Norman. “Our students are figuring out ways to take advantage of the technologies to better assist in their learning. That’s the best reason for the College to support use of this new tool.”
Dr. Blase Brown, Director of Small Group Learning, summed it up this way: “The use of the Mondopad has enhanced collaborative learning in SGL sessions by linking this technology with student groups’ shared resources using the University’s BOX cloud storage. The students build their case learning issues and then store individual research files in their group’s folder. These research files are then displayed on the Mondopad during the SGL session. This allows a visual resource for notes, photos, charts, graphs, biologic and clinical images, etc., which was not available previously. Having this displayed for the entire room, rather than individual paper notes, has created an environment for richer, interactive discussion about case learning objectives.”
For more information, contact Nancy Norman at (312) 355-0357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students Laura Douglas and Farah Shakir Named Schweitzer Fellows
Posted on 10/17/2014
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) has announced the selection of its 2014-15 class of Chicago Schweitzer Fellows. Students Laura Douglas and Farah Shakir of the UIC College of Dentistry are among 31 graduate students who will spend a year working to address barriers that impact the health of underserved communities and developing lifelong leadership skills.
In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.
“Schweitzer Fellowships change lives, both of the individual Fellows as well as those of the many vulnerable community members they serve through their Fellowship projects,” said Ray Wang, program director of the Schweitzer Fellowship program of Chicago. “Our Fellows learn to lead and innovate as they tackle complex health needs—skills they will use again and again throughout their professional careers. Meanwhile, their project participants learn information, skills, and behaviors that will assist them in leading healthier lives.”
Schweitzer Fellows develop and direct innovative service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, projects that are separate and in addition to their existing academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization.
Douglas proposes to increase oral health awareness and preventive care among the special needs population at the Arts of Life Studio at 2010 W. Carroll Ave. She also will incorporate arts activities to engage the community, and to support the studio’s efforts to help individuals with and without developmental disabilities realize their full potential.
Shakir will focus on oral disease prevention within the Iraqi refugee community. She plans to conduct community outreach in Arabic and English to assess and improve the community’s knowledge about oral health, and to address barriers to their receiving oral health care. Working together with Dr. Sheila Raja, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Dentistry, an expert in psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Shakir also hopes to address the underlying mental health issues that impact the community’s overall health.
For more about the Schweitzer Fellowships, log on to www.schweitzerfellowship.org.