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School of Dentistry students part of project receiving U-M bicentennial grant

Jae Young Han, left, and Philip Yoong

Dental and med students will work together to improve Livingston County health clinic

Ann Arbor, Mich., Aug. 12, 2016 -– A collaborative project between student organizations at the School of Dentistry and the Medical School has been awarded a $15,600 grant by the University of Michigan Bicentennial Office.  The grant will be used to add dental care and oral health education to the primary care that medical students have provided free to underserved patients at a clinic in Livingston County since 2012.

Two second-year dental students, Jae Young Han and Philip Yoong, started an inter-professional student group called Bridge of Disciplines last December to emphasize student-run initiatives involving the integration of dentistry with other disciplines.  According to its mission statement, “Members will work together on projects that aim to supplement our vision to better serve the community while maximizing our educational potential both at the dental school and in the wider campus community. To expand upon this further, BD aims to enhance students’ experiential learning through voluntary student-driven initiatives.”

Bridge of Disciplines is linking with a medical school project known as the “U-M Student-Run Free Clinic” to develop a broader set of health care treatment options for uninsured patients at the clinic in Pinckney, Mich. Han and Yoong will team with medical school students to implement the program in phases, starting with an assessment to determine the dental needs of the clinic’s patient population.  Other phases will involve training medical students in the basics of oral screenings and working with students at the medical school and other campus units to develop an education model to sustain the multi-disciplinary approach.  Eventually the dental students will act as an educational and screening resource to refer patients to community health resources.

“Our primary aim is to bridge the gaps between not only medicine and dentistry, but also other healthcare disciplines and related professions by promoting interprofessional experiences, developing relationships and practical skillsets that can maximize our growth potential, and increasing the public awareness of the importance of oral care,” Han said.

The grant is one of dozens, totaling $415,000, announced by U-M’s Bicentennial Office as part of the university’s year-long celebration in 2017 of the 200th anniversary of its founding. Three types of grants were awarded to faculty, staff and students to support a wide range of programs, events and projects, ranging from museum exhibits and academic conferences to concerts, dance performances and public readings. The dental-medical collaboration grant was a Bicentennial Student Activity Grant designed to reward student organizations for projects that will enhance the student experience at Michigan. Bicentennial Activity Grants were for projects that advance the mission of the bicentennial, and MCubed Bicentennial Incentive Program grants were in support of MCubed and mini-cube projects that address one or more bicentennial themes.

Collaboration between units across the university was identified as an important factor in selecting the grant recipients.  The Bicentennial Office noted that the long-term goal of the dental and medical schools’ collaboration is to “provide hands-on interprofessional education for students from all seven professional schools” at the university.

A list of all the Bicentennial grants is included in an article on the University Record website.

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The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.