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Standardized Patient Instruction (SPI)

The Standardized Patient Instructor (SPI) Program at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry provides opportunities for dental students to experience simulated, clinically relevant patient encounters. 

The focus of these encounters is the integration of sound communication skills with appropriate clinical competency.

Students at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry participate in SPI interactions throughout their four years in the predoctoral program.

  • D1 Year- The D1 Standardized Patient Program is designed to provide opportunities to practice patient interaction skills in controlled, low risk, clinical simulations. Experiences from this year will form the foundation for continued SPI experiences in the D2 and D3 years.
  • The D2 Standardized Patient Program is designed to build on SPI experiences emphasizing listening skills from the D1 year. Listening skills and interviewing skills will be expanded through introduction to the FOCUS* model of patient interaction. Through this website, preparation activities, and the patient simulation experience we provide D2s with an outstanding learning opportunity to work with patients in the Foundation, PAES, and VICs Clinics.
  • The D3 Standardized Patient Program is designed to build on SPI experiences from the D1 and D2 years. This year's experience is composed of one required session: Treatment Plan Negotiation Skills. At the completion of the required Treatment Plan Negotiation Skills SPI observation and coaching session the student will:
    • Be able to effectively conduct a patient-centered treatment planning interview using partnership and active participation skills and processes.
    • Understand and demonstrate the role of dental professional leadership in the development of a patient-centered treatment plan.
    • Understand and demonstrate the concept of creating value for proposed treatment options.
    • Understand and demonstrate negotiation skills necessary for patient acceptance of a patient-centered treatment plan.

*F – Find out what the problem is (Chief Concern)
O –Obtain appropriate information relative to the Chief Concern 
C – Communicate effectively with the patient during information gathering 
U – Understand the needs of the patient and what is required for the moment 
S – Summarize the findings for the patient and faculty 

If you have any questions about the SPI Program, or wish to become an SPI, you can contact:


SPI Program Director
Room G311B School of Dentistry