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Welcome to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry\'s Blog!

Here you will find blogs from our students about various issues facing our prospective dental professionals, from a day in the life to dealing with frigid Michigan winters. Please email umdentalmedia@gmail.com to suggest a topic you would be interested in learning about. Enjoy!

Day in the Life- Beginning a Hygiene Journey

May 24, 2018

A Day in the Life is a series highlighting the lives of our students.   From traditional to second career students, dental hygiene and DDS, take a glimpse into what it’s like to be a student at the #1 Dental school in the US.

Today is Thursday September 14, 2017. I wake up at 5:45 before my alarm even goes off. I find I am doing this more and more and instead of turning over to go back to sleep I try and use the extra minutes to adjust. Some days I study but today was just laying for a bit checking social media.

Oops! Used to much time checking e-mails and lying in bed. 6:10 I’m up to get dressed and get ready. I’m glad I take the time at night to grab out my clothes everything so I don’t need to rush too much. I want to leave early today since I keep hitting new traffic every day.

I do my make-up, braid my hair and brush my teeth. I go downstairs to make my tea and grab my breakfast. I then take my son’s lunch and snack and put them in his backpack and with that I am ready to go. But first I have to sneak in and say good bye to Luke, he’s five years old and adjusting to his new school since he just started kindergarten. I feel bad he’s still sleeping but I know if I don’t wake up he’ll be even more mad. I wanted to leave between 6:30-45 and so far I’m on track! Guess those couple extra minutes on the phone didn’t hurt. I go to say goodbye to Luke. He wanted extra cuddles since he is getting a runny nose and maybe even a cold. This is a bit hard for me as I would always be the one to stay home with him but now my husband will. He seems good enough,  I go to school. I let him watch some Phinneus and Ferb since I woke him so early and he doesn’t have to be up quite yet.

I’m out the door at 6:43 and time to listen to a podcast. I get to the bus just in time. I made the earlier one so I feel less stressed since I’ll have plenty of time to get everything organized for sim lab. Sim lab felt less overwhelming to me today than the first week. I like sitting near Baylie, we seem to help each other and work well. The peer teachers are getting used to me always having questions. Since I come with no dental experience I make sure to ask all the questions I can and take notes. I’m a hands on learner so I feel like lab is what helps makes things stick. The language already is becoming less overwhelming and starting to stick as well.

I use the break to check in on my son, his teacher puts up pictures and notes throughout the day and it helps keep my mind at ease. Today I took my first proficiency on the grasp and passed! That makes me feel such a boost of confidence. The locker room still seems a little crazy guessing what we need to bring to class, it’s nice that everyone gets along nice and is willing to help. I made sure to bring some snacks to help get though DH 210 lecture.

After lecture I hang out with Heather, Lacy, & Amanda and dance and sing. It’s fun to let off steam. I then planned to go to the gym and workout but my directions on my phone kept messing up and resyncing. But I did a lot of walking and seeing more of the campus. I stopped at Panda Express in the union and brought food back to the dental building. I decided to come back and study for a bit before meeting up to go over clinic binders. At 3:00, I went to the Binder meeting the DH 3s did. It’s super helpful to get the tips and help organizing. I know I’ll spend more time finishing my organizing when I get home.

Waiting for the bus now and taking a mental break listening to a podcast. Also working on meal planning for next week so I can go grocery shopping tomorrow after classes. After the bus ride I got in my car to drive home. I stopped for gas and then picked my son up from Kids Club, his after school daycare. I’m cat sitting this weekend so I went and took care of the cats, before finally heading home.

We arrive home at 5:00, I then go through my son’s school papers that get sent home and pack his lunch for tomorrow and toss in the laundry. While Luke is watching TV I decide to take a shower. It’s 5:40 now and I have about 20 minutes to order my clinic tools and do a bit of studying before making dinner. While making dinner I listen to my recordings in histology for Chiego’s class. I also go outside to water my vegetable garden, which is sorely lacking my attention. My husband, Ryan, texts me he left work late and he then ran into massive traffic. Luke and I still down for dinner and eat. After dinner Luke goes to take a shower and I sit down to review my notes from today and to read for DH 210 lecture tomorrow. When Ryan gets home we sit down with Luke to hear about his day at school. I then help Luke brush his teeth and tuck him in to bed.

I had to turn down an invite to go out with friends but I feel like I need more time to study tonight. It’s 8:00 now and I put on Chopped while I fold and put away the laundry. I then prep my backpack and grab my clothes out for tomorrow. I like to have everything ready so in the morning I don’t have to think about it. I then do a quick social media check. At 8:40 I finally finish and make a snack to eat while I finally can dedicate the rest of my time to making flashcards and study. At 9:30 I took a small break to double check my grocery list I wrote earlier and get my cans to return and reusable bags ready and in the car. I then go and wash my face and brush, floss, and rinse my teeth. Back to studying. I decide to end at 10:30. I check my emails and canvas and then off to sleep. Good night.

Jodi VanDuinen just finished her first year of the Dental Hygiene program.  Keep an eye out for an update on how it went!

Admissions Prep from an Admissions Director

April 26, 2018

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Spring has sprung!  For the Office of Admissions, the Spring season brings the anticipation of the upcoming DDS application cycle.  Let me mention a few reasons that you should have Michigan on your list of ‘dental schools to apply to’!

  • For four years, the University of Michigan has been ranked as the top dental school in the US!  We’re very proud to continue to be ranked as the #1 dental school.
  • Students at Michigan have early clinical experiences, beginning in the first year!  By the middle of the D2 year, students are assigned their first group of patients that they are expected to schedule, treat and monitor.
  • Our curriculum offers students great opportunities to enrich their learning.  One such opportunity is the Pathways Program, where one can either focus in-depth on a chosen topic or take elective courses during D2 through D4 year.  Another curricular highlight is the Community Based Dental Education program.  This un-paralled program gives students 12 weeks of outreach rotation experience by the time they graduate.
  • Speaking of graduation, over the past four years, an average of 87% of students who applied to either a residency or specialty program were granted admission!

But, let’s get back to the admissions process and application cycle.

The application process for dental school is competitive!  The application opens in June each cycle and we encourage early application – which means in the month of June or July.  Planning ahead for the timing of the application is important:  you can be working on your personal statement before that time, you can select and speak to those who will be writing your letters of recommendation, you can think ahead and plan for documenting all of your shadowing and other experiences, and lastly, plan for your review and study for the DAT.  The best scenario is to take the DAT either before you apply, or around the same time that you apply.

On average, students apply to about 10 dental schools.  Do your homework when making decisions about which schools to select!  The American Dental Education Association (ADEA.org) offers 2 great resources for reviewing admissions stats and comparing dental schools:  the Official Guide to Dental Schools (hard copy) and the Dental School Explorer.

The admissions process is long!  Students are applying in June of any given cycle to begin dental school 1 year later (for UM) in June.

Once your application is submitted to ADEA AADSAS, we generally receive your application within a few weeks.  We will check to see if your application is complete – if not, you’ll receive notice.  If yes, then it will be made ready for admissions committee review.  We begin notifying applications of interview invitations by late summer for the interview season that occurs primarily in the Fall semester.  On December 1st, the first round of admit offers are made and the rolling admissions process begins!  Once our entering class is full, students begin preparing for Orientation, which occurs at the end of June each year.  It’s an exciting time for all, but most especially for those candidates who can now call themselves D1 students!

Good luck with the DDS application season that begins June 2018!

For more information, check out dent.umich.edu/admissions/

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Pattie Katcher is the Admissions Director at the School of Dentistry.  Pattie started her career at the School in 1991 and has held several positions leading to her current role which she’s held since 2004. In addition to managing the admissions process for DDS, ITDP and our MS programs, she also provides student services support to ~100 grad students.  When she’s not busy advising students and reading applications, she likes to read historical fiction, and spend time outdoors hiking or biking.  

Cheers to an Exam-Free Year

October 2, 2017

profile5am: *beep beep beep* Time to get up and out of bed. Just like any other weekday since 2006, I start my day off at the gym. This routine helps jumpstart my brain, activate my muscles and stretch my joints in preparation for the busy day ahead. One hour later, I head back home and have breakfast while watching last night’s episodes of the Late Show and the Daily Show. After getting a few good laughs in without aspirating my food, I clean up, pack my book bag and head out.  The walk from my apartment unit to the research laboratory only takes me five minutes. Living on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is great because I rarely have to worry about arriving late to work.

So, why am I more than 500 miles away from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry? Only a couple months ago, I had started my fourth year in dental school.  I should be in Ann Arbor preparing for dental boards and treating patients in the student clinic.

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Well, in my case, the story is a bit different. After having completed three years of dental school, I decided to embark on a yearlong research fellowship at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.  Since my first year in dental school, I had joined a research lab and developed a passion for science and discovery. Since then, my educational journey has led me to the nation’s premier biomedical research institute.

Although the decision to accept this fellowship would delay my graduation, I thought to myself: “Why not? I get a year off from school!”  Honestly, I did not fully appreciate my time away from dental school until I started the first week of my fellowship. There was no stress about fulfilling clinical requirements, earning good grades, studying for exams, and completing assignments! Plus, I now have a FULL year to focus all my energy and time towards research… that’s it. And, I absolutely loved everything about it. Yea, it sounds nerdy, I know.

So what is this all about? And what is it like?

In the program, I join fifty-one other medical and dental students from schools across the US, who are in the midst of their training as well. All of us are distributed across the NIH campus at different institutions with renowned clinician scientist mentor(s) in our field of interest. In addition to performing research at our respective institutes, our class cohort would gather as a group for lectures, journal club meetings and teaching rounds that are scheduled into our program curriculum throughout the year.  In addition, outside of work, we always find time to go out to downtown Bethesda, Virginia, or Washington D.C. for social gatherings and events such as comedy shows, food festivals, and sports games. Not to mention, if you love food as much as I do, the District of Columbia is brimming with bars, restaurants, coffee shops that are perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner.

Being a foodie, I made sure to try out as many restaurants, bars, and popular pop-up spots throughout the year. Some of my favorite places to dine and have a good time are located in the DMV (D.C./Maryland/Virginia). For example, when I am craving homie authentic Vietnamese food, I make a drive out to Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia. Being only a short drive away from Bethesda, MD, Falls Church, VA is a city that has a dense Vietnamese population and Eden Center is the epicenter of Vietnamese bakeries, supermarkets, café shops, hair salons, and restaurants. I always leave Eden Center with a belly full of delicious Pho, Bun Bo Hue, or Com Tam Suong Nuon.

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On the other hand, when happy hour comes to mind, Washington D.C. is the place to be. There are endless bars and restaurants with great deals on food and drinks to quench your thirst, fill your tummy, and unwind your mind. Some of my favorite places include: Barmini by Jose Andres, Garden District, Jack Rose Dining Saloon, The Pig, Service Bar D.C., and so much more.

My year on the east coast has passed by in a blink of an eye and I have learned a tremendous amount of information, made new friends, and gained great mentors. I loved the research that I had performed in the lab, which included basic benchtop experiments as well as macro- and microsurgery on small live animals.  The experiences have been invaluable.

Although not many dental students are aware of this type of research opportunity, I would highly recommend and encourage those who are interested in research and academia to pursue and inquire about it. The dental profession and its respective specialty fields depend on evidence-based research for its academic preservation and high regard in the public and professional communities. And with that, we need future academic leaders advocating for the advancement of dental medicine through research and discovery.

All in all, it has been an unforgettable year with friends, food, and fun.

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John M. Le
University of Michigan School of Dentistry (UMSoD) Class of 2018
National Institutes of Health Medical Research Scholars Program (NIH MRSP) Class of 2017. Read more about his year at NIH here: myumi.ch/6jNGP

You can find me on

IG: lifteatdrinkwork
Yelp: https://lenomnom.yelp.com

 

D1 Semester One down

September 19, 2017

Hey! To say that I’m relieved that the summer semester is over would be an understatement! I can’t believe that just 7 short weeks ago, I walked into the Michigan League with 108 amazing and talented individuals, ready to conquer dental school. These past few weeks have taken me for a roller coaster ride for sure.

The courses started off slow and steady but as the semester drew on, the speed and amount of information continued to grow, exponentially. DENT 545 (Head and Neck Anatomy), which I affectionately call “The Beast”, was difficult and it felt as if I had never studied this amount of information before. The neurovasculature! The insertions! The actions! Everything was so much and it took a lot of dedication and time invested to succeed.

At many times throughout the semester, I even began to doubt the abilities that had brought me here. But thanks to my crucial friendships that I’ve gained over this short time and the encouragement from mentors and my family, I continued on.

Now, don’t think that dental school is all work and hard labor! I enjoyed myself too, fostering friendships, going to concerts and enjoying life!

The semester came to brief halt, for a joyous occasion, the White Coat Ceremony. That day, I woke up with anticipation that today would be the day that I would receive my white coat and take the oath of an aspiring dentist. It was a moment I had been looking forward to since the summer of 2012, when it hit me that pursuing dentistry was my calling, this made it so real. That it was really happening… That I would really become a dentist.

As I walked towards the ramp to get onto the stage, the anticipation began to build. And then . . .  I heard my name, “Chelese Moore”, and at that moment an exhilaration that cannot be comprehended or even articulated in its truest form came over me. In seconds, I was coated and walked away with my heart beaming with accomplishment and thankfulness.

This feeling carried me throughout the rest of the semester. And every now and again, I looked over to my embroidered white coat which gave me that extra push to keep moving forward. Not only was my own motivation propelling me forward, but it was the motivation of my family that continued to push me to achieve greater than what I even thought was possible.

Having my first foundation clinic experiences really made my semester because I experienced what it would be like to operate as a clinician. Being in that role exposed me to my future and helping me to build on the characteristics and skills that would push me to success.

Even though the bumps, the turns and the down right loopy moments were numerous, the exhilaration that I felt is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And even now as my first semester of dental school is over, I’m looking for the roller coaster rides to come in the future, working my way towards the DDS.

Chelese Moore is a D1 currently in the throes of her second semester.

A Message From The Dean

September 7, 2017

LaurieMcCauley 2017.jpgAs we approach the beginning of a new academic year, I would like to take this time to welcome everyone in our community – faculty, staff and students – to a new semester of learning, service, discovery, and the opportunity to renew our common commitments.  This year marks the 142nd year for the School of Dentistry and the 200th year for the university. Go Blue!

The Labor Day holiday is also an appropriate moment for us as we honor the achievements and contributions of American workers who have given so much in the development and continued prosperity of our country.  So, too, have all of you contributed to our strength as a pre-eminent dental school dedicated to education, research, patient care and the advancement of our profession.

It is also important at this time to acknowledge recent events that have been harmful and a threat to creating and supporting the diverse, equitable and inclusive environment at our school and across campus.  As some of you may know, late last week, disparaging graffiti was found on the Rock after Latino students left welcoming messages for their group, Assisting Latinos to Maximize Achievement (ALMA).  President Schlissel, at the new student convocation on Friday, made it clear that we welcome all who come to Ann Arbor. He emphasized “We are proud you have decided to pursue your education at the University of Michigan. You make us a stronger university and enrich our community and nation by your many talents, hard work, and the diverse perspectives and life experiences you bring to campus.”

Dr. Rob Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer for the university also provided comment on the incident and you can read his response here.  We share Dr. Sellers’ sentiments that while disappointing and disgraceful, this incident will not alter our commitment to continuing to provide an inclusive and compassionate environment for everyone at our school.

At the School of Dentistry, we believe that our humanistic learning environment and the Multicultural Affairs Committee (MAC) help us make sense of things in difficult times.  There are a number of additional resources – within the school and across campus – to assist and support everyone, including:

  • For students here at Dentistry, Pamela Harnick provides in-house support through the Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) program.
  • The CAPS program is also available across campus for students with additional services including articles on “Navigating a Complex World.
  • Finally, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP) provides a number of services for emotional health and well-being.

As we continue this journey together this year, I want you to know how much we appreciate everyone who has chosen to be part of the School of Dentistry and University of Michigan at this time.  We celebrate and are strengthened by our differences and have so much to gain by listening, trusting each other and working together toward our common goals.

Best wishes for the year ahead,

Laurie McCauley
Dean

Home to Hygiene- Lacy’s Story

August 22, 2017

Lacy Jones 3Growing up in Valdosta, Georgia, I desired to become part of a team bigger than myself. I joined the United States Air Force at the age of eighteen and chose a career as a dental technician. After ten years, I separated from the Air Force in order to have the chance to make my education a priority and continue to build on the dental knowledge I already had. When I was not refining my skills as a dental technician, I was working on my music and performance skills. In 2010, I was blessed with an opportunity to become a member of the Air Force touring ensemble called Tops In Blue. During this year long program, I learned about team work and the discipline it takes to achieve my musical goals. I also spent several years as a Praise and Worship leader throughout several chapels I attended on military installations.

I highly enjoy traveling to new places and learning about other cultures. When I have free time, I love hiking and taking photos along the way of my journey. I just graduated from Solano Community College in Fairfield, California. Academically, I was approaching a point where I could no longer progress in my field of study. This college is a two-year institution and upon completion of this year, I was not able to complete any upper division science courses on my biology degree plan. What led me to the University of Michigan Dental Hygiene program was the unique opportunity to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene, while most dental hygiene programs throughout the nation only offer an associate’s degree. This specific program at the University of Michigan offers a broader scope of education in the field of dental hygiene and does this while also allowing students to excel in other academic studies. My objective in transferring is to gain more experience as a dental professional and to use that knowledge to serve others in the community and worldwide through humanitarian missions.

Lacy Jones is a DH2 student.  Welcome, Lacy! 

Home to Hygiene- Mohammad’s Story

August 15, 2017

My journey started when I first came to the US in 2013. I came here as means to escape the war in my country, Syria, and to continue pursuing my educational goals. I faced a lot of challenges assimilating to the new culture but I overcame the obstacles I encountered with the help and the support of people that surrounded me.

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Chicago Dental Society, Midwinter Meeting 2015

After attending Dental Assisting program at Washtenaw Community College, my desire to expand the knowledge I earned in the field of dentistry inspired me to continue my path and to apply for the Dental Hygiene Program. I am so excited to start my journey in fall 2017 at University of Michigan. I know that a lot of good things will be waiting for me there. I am ready to use all the resources that University of Michigan provides for its students to succeed through the program. The University of Michigan Dental Hygiene Program is a part of a nationally recognized dental school at a top research university. Valuable opportunities such as going on rotations within the Dental School to specialty clinics, learning more about real-world hospital dentistry, learning from experts in the fields of dentistry, and working with dental students, which increase the interaction with our future colleagues, has a great appeal to me. A Michigan degree will open the doors for me in the future for many reasons. Firstly, hiring managers know that U-M graduates are well educated and well prepared for the responsibilities of their new career.

I will also be part of the Dental Hygiene “family,” where I will hopefully develop lifelong relationships and where I will be part of many dental professional organizations such as the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) which is the largest professional association representing all dental hygienists. Attending the dental hygiene program will undoubtedly open a lot of career opportunities in the future in my interest.

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Volunteering at Indiana MOM Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic 2015

Being from a community oriented culture, I have been raised to care for others. Growing up in a needy family in Syria made me aware of the challenges facing other students and families throughout their lives. In addition, the need to rise and succeed through life’s challenges has instilled in me a long-standing work ethic and sense of responsibility towards others. My ultimate goal upon my graduating from the Dental Hygiene program is to help underserved communities and the uninsured. With premium training from the University of Michigan Dental hygiene program, I will be prepared to utilize my skills to fulfill my ultimate goal of providing dental care to the most needy in my community.

Welcome, Mohammad, to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry!

 

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