International Educator - July/August 2014 - 39

BOSTON UNIVERSITY

ALL
SMI
LES
ISLP students spend a week or two in different locations around the world, including the Philippines, Croatia,
Beliz, Botswana, and Trinidad, among others; not all locations incorporate dental work. Locations are chosen
carefully, she says, based on what students can offer local
residents, and what they might learn along the way.
"We make sure our students will go there and learn
more than service," she explains. "They're also learning
the culture and the history and getting an understanding
about people who are entirely different than they are."
Students who are selected for an international experience spend six weeks preparing in weekly sessions, and
they work on a project as an interdisciplinary team, such as
a water purification or similar project. "All of the students
going from all the disciplines have to participate and learn
about it and help out with it," says Collins, who normally
takes six dental students on each appropriate trip. Four
of those work in a dental clinic every day and two rotate
to other projects, so everyone takes turns at everything.
In the Philippines, students visit a clinic set up in a
school in an area where routine dental care is too expensive and hard to get for most people. "The people there
are so grateful for what we do that they built a little room
in the school for us," she says. Dental equipment is stored
there between ISLP visits, repaired as needed, and set up
to work every year. Students from other schools in the
area are bused in for exams and treatments.
"They have a lot of absenteeism in schools because of
toothaches, infections, and cavities," says Collins. "When
the program started in 2012, the principal told us absenteeism went down 50 percent. That's amazing."
Other schools say their programs have boasted similar results. Michelle Henshaw, associate dean for global
and population health at Boston University's Goldman
School of Dental Medicine, says dental students travel
abroad up to three times per year, both giving and getting
great benefits.
"We look for the ability to provide preventive care,"
she says. "If we can do preventive care throughout the
year, there will clearly be fewer treatment needs in the
future. That's our focus."
Boston University students can choose between six
and twelve different trips depending on the year, and
spend one to two weeks abroad, offering dental services
and exploring the countries they're visiting.
"They go in their fourth year and with an experienced
dentist," she says. "They have enough skills to almost work
at the level of the practicing dentist. They'll be a little slower, but they go at a point when they'll be dentists in the
next couple of months."

The students focus on Central America, and Henshaw
says people will walk up to six hours to wait in line for
their services. "They're there at three in the morning before the sun comes up, waiting for their chance to have
dental care," she says. "Sometimes there are hundreds and
hundreds of people waiting. We're never going to get to
see everyone, and it can be heart-wrenching to send them
away if we can't see them."
But that, she says, is among the experiences that can
be life-altering to young dentists. "Some of my favorite
pictures students bring back are series that start with the
outgoing, energetic faces at the beginning of the day," she
says. "Then you see them at the end of the day and they're
laying on the ground with their heads in their arms, hav-

ing given everything they could give in a 10-hour day.
They just have nothing left to give. That's life-changing."
The proof, she says, is in what happens after graduation, when about half of the students who participated in
an international experience through the school continue
to be involved in missions abroad-many come back to
the university and go again as trip leaders.
"We do an orientation for them before each trip that
makes sure they've covered everything in terms of immunizations, and we try and prepare them emotionally and
mentally for some of the things they're going to experience-the exhaustion and the heartbreak of having to stop
when there are so many people in need. They can at least
start to orient themselves to that."
The results, she says, are wide-reaching. "I really think
it has little to do with the clinical experience," she says. "It's
having a broader understanding of and appreciation of our
world and the different cultures and different experiences
of people and the way they live that's most important."
That's particularly important in dentistry, she says,
which is a field often misunderstood in healthcare.

Boston University
dental students
and alumnae
on their trip to
Poptun, Guatemala,
in January 2014.
Pictured are
Christina Donnelly
(DMD 2013), Ella
Botchevar (DMD
2014), Kevin Acone
(DMD 2007/team
leader), Wyatt
Traina (DMD 2014),
Theresa Guanci
(DMD 2014) and
David Zeigler (DMD
2014).

J U LY + AU G . 1 4 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

39



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - July/August 2014

Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
All Smiles
In Brief
Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
Education Abroad
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Brief
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 5
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 6
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 7
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 8
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 12
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 13
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 14
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 15
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 16
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 17
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 19
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 20
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 21
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 23
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 24
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 25
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 26
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 27
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 28
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 29
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 30
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 31
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 32
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 33
International Educator - July/August 2014 - All Smiles
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 35
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 36
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 37
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 38
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 39
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 40
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 41
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 42
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 43
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 44
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 45
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Education Abroad
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 47
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 48
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 49
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 50
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 51
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Forum
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 53
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 54
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 55
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover4
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S4
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S5
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S6
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S7
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S8
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S12
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover3
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