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ADEA’s Peer Mentoring Program: Students Helping Each Other

ADEA's Peer Mentoring Program: Students Helping Each Other


Dental students at UIC appreciate our curriculum because of its comprehensiveness with a strong foundation in general dentistry, as well as the integration of specialty training, service-learning and research.

Another big reason dental students choose UIC is the level of collaboration we build into the student experience.  A great example of this collaborative learning is the student led Peer Mentoring Program (PMP), part of ADEA at UIC.

What is the ADEA Student Peer Mentoring Program (PMP)?

The Peer Mentoring Program (PMP) at UIC College of Dentistry consists of mentors from each DMD class, who provide support to the classes in the years below to enhance their success through improved academic and clinical skills.  It is a wonderful program intended to provide mentorship and cultivate the relationship among dental students as they navigate through the challenges presented each year. Activities planned include mock exams, Q/A reviews, and small group clinic sessions to promote academic success.

“The PMP is designed to assist underclassman with academic and clinical skills. The main objective of the program is to have upperclassman mentor underclassman. The group will host mock exams, Q/A reviews, and small group clinic sessions to promote academic success,” says ADEA PMP Director 2017-18 , Clara Bajzek, DMD Candidate Class of 2018. 

“It's great having a program dedicated to help D1s and D2s with the transition to working with patients. Most students don't come in with a lot of hands skills, and the upper-classmen bring lots of skills and  advice, because they’ve already been there,” added Jasmine Liu, ADEA President Elect 2017-18, DMD Candidate, Class of 2020.

UIC College of Dentistry Dental Student Peer Mentoring Group


What does the peer mentoring program do?

The PMP brings together D3 and D4 students with D1 and D2 students to provide various peer mentoring programs throughout the year. These programs include clinical training such as waxing demonstrations, mock performance exams, exam review session, and much more.

Types  of mentoring include:

  • Clinical training, such as waxing demonstrations, and anatomy reviews
  • Mock performance exams
  • Exam review sessions
  • Electronic health record tutorials
  • Curriculum skill building 


The program is a completely student run mentoring program that provides more individualized guidance and assistance in whatever aspects each dental class may need. This can range from learning how to tackle  the dental curriculum in general, (Tricks to Get Through SGL Session) to clinical skills for each class (D1: Drill, Chill, and Fill Session, D2: Intro to Endo Session, or D3: Getting to Know Axium), to didactic sessions for the D1's or NBDE Part 1 Boards reviews for the D2's. 

vert-bar-green20x370.jpg“It's such a great program where you develop a trusting and meaningful relationship between mentor and mentee. Our mentors do such a great job volunteering their time since they have just gone through the curriculum and understand the stresses, their challenges, and personal insight into what worked and what didn't work.”

- Jasmine Liu, DMD Candidate, Class of 2020.



What makes peer mentoring events so successful

These peer mentoring programs are extremely popular with our students!

DAOB Clinical Skills Event

One event was a DAOB Clinical Skills Event for the D2 class in which D3 and D4 mentors guided D2s with Class IV composite restorations and crown preps. The event was set up by Shawn Jung,  DAOB Clinical Skills Director, and run by Hany Reyad,  ADEA COSRF at UIC COD President 2016-17, and Karen Homsi, ADEA COSRF at UIC COD President 2017-18.  The event was a great success with over 35 students participating.

Crown Wax Up and Denture Events

In September 2017, the PMP organized an event to help the first year dental students complete their full ceramic crown wax up. Mentors from the D2, D3, and A3 classes provided guidance on: completing their #10 full ceramic crown wax up, understanding their waxing and grading criteria, knowing how to properly smooth and polish their wax-up, and tips and tricks with waxing.

In another event, the mentors group hosted a waxing event to assist the D1s for diagnostic wax cast impressions. Waxing is an essential skill for dentists because it is a way to quickly show patients a mock-up of the intended treatment before it is performed. This particular event was coordinated by Seok-Hun Jung, Joanna Kopytek and Karen Homsi. 

Another event involved D3 mentors teaching the D2/AS2 students how to set denture teeth.





Endodontics Teeth Selection Event

In August 2017, UIC ADEA organized an event to help the second year dental students select teeth for the endodontic pre-clinical course assignments and exams. Mentors from the D4, D3 and A3 classes provided guidance on: how to organize and mount teeth, ideal tooth selection including radiographic techniques and more. Organizers for Teeth and Endo materials were available for sale.  The event paired 15 mentors with 40 mentees.


Anatomy Reviews

The Fall 2017 ADEA anatomy review consisted of D2 students who came to the lab after school hours to help D1 students review for their anatomy practices in the lab. We provided a worksheet of questions for quick review of basic concepts. We spent approximately 1hour quizzing students on structures on the cadavers and answering questions. 



These events have been so successful because they provide dental students with useful strategies that they can start using right away. Peer mentoring also gives dental students an opportunity to develop leadership skills and give back to their college student community.

The group has grown from just a few students to include many students and supporting faculty who donate their time to help this effort succeed. The group’s vision came from Dr. Haein Kil who graduated from UIC in 2016. Dr. Kil’s initial organization efforts were supported by Dr. Priscilla Chang who volunteered as the faculty mentor for the group. The vision has continued to develop to the current very active group of students who volunteer their time to help new D1 students adjust to the demands of the challenging dental school curriculum.

vert-bar-green20x370.jpg“The value of peer mentoring extends beyond the idea of getting good grades. We see it as a tool for building relationships with future colleagues, increasing collaboration and positive competition, and for producing successful patient-focused practitioners.”

 - Karen Homsi, DMD Candidate, Class of 2019 and President, ADEA - UIC Chapter



Students present the PMP concept on a national stage

The value of peer mentoring extends beyond the idea of getting good grades. It is a tool for building relationships with future colleagues, increasing collaboration and positive competition, and for producing successful patient-focused practitioners.

In 2018, students in the UIC COD chapter of the ADEA presented these ideas in a short-talk session during the ADEA Annual Session, entitled “Exploring Student-run Peer Mentorship Programs in North American Dental Schools.” The team recruited dental students from 4 other dental schools to present on peer mentoring.

By sharing their insights on forming a peer mentoring program, the D4 student mentors helped other dental schools across the US understand the value of a peer mentorship programs, and how to get started.

“We believe mentorship at any career level provides essential technical and emotional support critical for professional success. Such programs allow for problem-focused tutoring sessions tailored to the individual student’s needs and encourage increased collaboration among dental students,” says Karen Homsi, ADEA PMP President 2017-18.


vert-bar-green20x370.jpg"Dental students can greatly benefit from programs that promote team building, because the dental practice model is evolving," Future dentists need to understand how to practice in a more collaborative model  of dental providers coordinating care with other health professionals such as nurses, speech pathologists, nutritionists."

 - Karen Homsi, ADEA COSRF at UIC COD President 2017-18 2017-18.