Elizabeth Ramos, IU School of Dentistry

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Ramos, clinical assistant professor, IU School of Dentistry

Project Title: Enhancing the Dental Student Experience: A Model for a Discipline-Specific Elective Course

Funding Level: $2,619


The core curriculum of the Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) upholds the Commission on Dental Accreditation standards of competency in general dentistry. It is through elective courses students attain additional experiences to enhance their learning. Students often select electives to satisfy a particular interest. Elective opportunities are available throughout the four years of the DDS program (D1D4), with the majority designed for participation in the D4 year. Students manage their own patient pool in the dental school clinics in the D3 year. At the end of that year, they begin making career decisions and the application process for postgraduate programs opens. With the recent restructuring of the IUSD academic calendar, a two-week block of time in June has been created during which students do not have any courses. This time is an ideal opportunity to conduct multiday elective courses that may otherwise conflict with other obligations. The purpose of this curricular enhancement is to determine if participation in a periodontics elective contributes to a greater understanding of the specialty and increases confidence in comprehensive treatment planning in the D3 year. The 3-day intensive elective course has learning activities exemplifying the American Dental Education Association Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education Principles of the Dental Education Environment. If the format for this elective and its placement in the early part of the D3 year achieves these outcomes, the model will be shared with colleagues in other disciplines at the IUSD for consideration when planning electives to promote appreciation for a specialty.