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Mega Grand Rounds- Dental Curriculum Innovation

April 1, 2011

Earlier this afternoon I attended my first Mega Grand Rounds course.  The purpose of Grand Rounds is to “encourage the collegial discovery, exploration, and discussion of a featured topic focused through presentations by recognized experts in the field.”  The course I attended today was titled, “State of the Art Diagnosis and Management of Oral Cancer.”  There were three lecturers including Dean Polverini, Dr. James J. Sciubba, and Dr. Brent Ward.  I found the lecture series to be very interesting and informative concerning advances in oral cancer treatment and management.  I feel all three lectures stressed the importance that as dental healthcare professionals, we have a responsibility to our patients to provide the highest level of care, which includes oral cancer screenings at every appointment for every patient.  Early detection is KEY to improving the survival rate for our patients.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, relatively 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year alone.  Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and specific HPV strands are all risk factors for developing oral or pharyngeal cancer.  It is important to educate our patients on the risks and provide more awareness of this increasing worldwide condition.  Many researchers here at the School of Dentistry are working to find the specific pathway that triggers the development of oral cancer.  This process takes time, but everyday is a closer step to finding the specific cause of oral and pharyngeal cancer.

I am looking forward to the next Mega Grand Rounds course on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

Elizabeth Easter is a current 3rd year dental hygiene student, originally from Detroit, MI.  She obtained her B.S. degree in Biology from Howard University in 2007.  Elizabeth has a passion for community development, and plans to work in community dentistry in the future.

For more information about School of Dentistry’s Mega Grand Rounds, curriculum updates and more, see our first inaugural Academic Affairs Newsletter at

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