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Dental students gain hands-on experience while helping communities (9-23-99)

Some 200 dental students and residents at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio participated in 21 extramural and in-house programs this summer. The participants provided services to indigent populations in Mexico and along the Texas border, migrant workers in Colorado, federal prisoners throughout the country and clinic patients in San Antonio.

Sponsored by various organizations, the outreach programs provide opportunities for dental students to get hands-on experience in general dentistry and various specialties while helping the community.

In South Texas, summer externship programs sponsored by the Alamo Area Health Education Center and the state-supported South Texas/Border Initiative focused on health promotion/disease prevention and clinical service. For a period of six to 10 weeks, 59 students from the UTHSCSA Dental School worked with dental directors and community educators at federally funded community clinics and local health department facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border and in San Antonio.

An additional 30 dental students spent one week at University Hospital to experience hospital dentistry, including assisting dental residents on call to the Emergency Center.

The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Externship Program, conducted by Mike Startzell, DMD, assistant professor, gave five senior dental students the chance to spend a month receiving intensive exposure to oral surgery.

For more information, call Kenneth L. Kalkwarf, DDS, dean of the Dental School, at (210) 567-3160.

Contact: Will Sansom or Jennifer Lorenzo