For the past few weeks, the School of Dentistry has hosted the Governor’s School for a portion of its summer session. As part of the program our students and Dr. Healy provided a hands-on dental experience. They provided a full day of experiences for 26 high school students who attended our event. Thanks to our dental students Christina Franklin, Lauren Pass, Louis Formica and Patrick Ruck who volunteered their time and provided experience with suturing, impressions, wax carving, DentSim and amalgam restoration.
Later Jeanne Minetree, Director of the Governor’s School for Life Sciences and Medicine sent Dr. Healy this message. “Wow! Thursday with the School of Dentistry was a great day. This was what I heard again and again from every Governor’s School student this evening. Our student with the score of 82 in DentSim posted this comment on our Discussion Board tonight” she wrote.
“Today we visited the School of Dentistry for the second time. Instead of just touring the facility, we got the privilege of partaking in several hands on activities, followed by a very interesting presentation by the Dean of Admissions and a specialist in the dentistry field. I was surprised at how well I did with the two main tasks we performed today, and how natural it felt to do both. I didn’t have much interest in dentistry before today, but the additional exposure to some of what is involved in the field has made me consider an avenue possibly related to dentistry. After observing both oral surgery and the hands on aspects of dentistry, I have shifted away from my prior, closed minded view of typical family practice physicians, and have begun to consider something more proactive. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: This program has truly broadened my horizon.”
I also received this note from Ms. Minetree. “Dear Dr. Sarrett, 2012 Governor’s School for Life Sciences and Medicine will be leaving the School of Dentistry and VCU tomorrow morning, July 27. Thank you for your gracious hospitality. Without exception, every person at the School of Dentistry made our stay in Perkinson a pleasure. We have never experienced the kind of warm welcome and accommodations like we received here this July. Ron Gibbs, Margaret Poland, Shirillila McDonald, Dr. Michael Healy, and Dr. Michael Huband were especially helpful, but, in fact, every staff member and student we have encountered at SOD has been courteous and even downright friendly. Dr. Healy said that Dentistry is like a family, and that is exactly how we have felt… as if we had been adopted into a family. Thank you for creating one of the best professional environments that I have ever encountered and for allowing us to be a part of it.”
Later I received another note from Ms. Minetree and more comments from the students participating in the program:
“Our electronic Discussion Board was burgeoning with complimentary comments. I selected six of those comments to share with you and your colleagues, and they are listed below. Since many of the postings referred to the contributions of Dr. Healy and Dr. Huband, I am sending both of those gentlemen a Cc: of this message. It appears that in a single day, the School of Dentistry managed to produce some major attitude shifts and career aspiration modifications of some of the brightest high school students in the Commonwealth.” wrote Minetree.
“This week’s activities broke from the norm and allowed us an incredible look at the true world of medicine. While I anticipated enjoying this week, what surprised me was my love for our day at the School of Dentistry. I had never seriously considered a career as a dentist, but I found myself captivated by the hands-on work of dentists, not to mention the deep relationships and prompt relief they provide patients. I felt Dr. Healy and the students at the School of Dentistry went above and beyond in providing us an enriching, stimulating, and occupying day. I am not exaggerating when I say I was not bored once, even though I spent a total of probably three hours carving my wax tooth. The range of activities was unsurpassed by any of our other work days, and the speakers at the end of the day held everyone’s attention, quite a feat considering the audience was a group of sleep deprived teenagers. I can honestly say this was one of my favorite days so far; it has placed dentistry as a contender for my future and should be repeated for future years of GSLSM.”
“I have been so devoted to the field of medicine for all of my life but after reading the insightful comments from my classmates, my mind has been opened to the field of dentistry. The simulation activities were very revealing into the lives of dental students. It seemed like a fun and lucrative career path and it will definitely be an option to consider in the future.”
“My experience at the School of Dentistry was quite a surprise to me. The Dean of Admissions introduced us to a number of workshops, including a drilling simulation, a tooth carving activity, and a filling exercise. Since I have devoted my mindset towards a profession in medicine, having a day spent at the School of Dentistry did not seem enticing in the least. But after hearing about the amazing achievements of Dr. Huband and learning the different components of being a dentist from Dr. Healy himself, I have gained a new respect for this field. This program has allowed me to engage in fields that I would not think twice of otherwise, and has given me the opportunity to truly appreciate every aspect of healthcare.”
“Today was very fun to do the hands-on activities. The carvings were frustrating, but fun to work. The simulation machines were amazing. Technology really has broadened the ability of medicine in so many ways, even in its training aspects. I would have to say both speakers, Dr. Huband and Dr. Healey, were great, too. They both did a very good job keeping us interested in the presentations after a long day of work. Today definitely gave me a different view on dentistry.”
“The School of Dentistry day is a new day of activities at the Governor’s School for Life Sciences and Medicine (GSLSM) program this year, and I am glad it was added. It was a very interesting day because of all the hands-on experience we had, and it was a break from the normal, medicine-oriented schedule of this program. In addition, it exposed me to my mom’s profession; I never realized how hard it is to be a dentist, and so I have a newfound appreciation for the art of dentistry (it is an art, per today’s activities). We were given the opportunity to suture an orange, carve wax teeth, take impressions, drill teeth, fill our drilled teeth, and just learn about dentistry. We also heard from a maxillofacial prosthodontist and the Dean of Admissions at the dental school, both very interesting and engaging presentations. Overall, I believe that this new day is a great, beneficial addition to the program.”
“My experience at the VCU School of Dentistry could not have been better. Dr. Healy did not merely provide us with a tour, but rather with an experience. I gained valuable insight into the difficulties dental students encounter on a daily basis: suturing, carving impossible teeth, and even drilling! All of these tasks were incredibly difficult, but they actually renewed my determination to pursue a Doctorate in Dental Sciences. Perhaps the highlight of my day was the most difficult task: carving a replica of a tooth. Each facet of the tooth had to be perfectly imitated, which is even harder than it sounds. So, while my carving may have ended up in pieces, the journey itself was worth taking. I have gained even more respect for my father and his profession. Doctor Healy may have called me “my future dental student” in jest, but I hope to make it a truth after the events of today.”
As Dean, I am very proud of everyone who made this possible and proud to be a dentist. Our profession has a bright future in these young people!
More about the program at this location: