Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine brought its 20 dual-degree students together to celebrate their scholarship and encourage networking among the group at a special luncheon on November 13, hosted by the School’s Office of Development & Alumni Relations and Office of Academic Affairs & Student Life. The dual-degree programs are among the unique academic options available to Penn Dental Medicine DMD students.
“With all of Penn’s professional and graduate schools on a unified campus, it creates a tremendous opportunity for us to build interdisciplinary, interprofessional programs for our students,” says Dr. Uri Hangorsky, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Penn Dental Medicine. “The number of dual degrees available to our students far exceeds that of our peer institutions.”
Presently, the school offers eight dual-degree programs. They include a Master of Bioethics, a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Science in Translational Research with Penn’s School of Medicine; a Master of Science in Bioengineering with the School of Engineering and Applied Science; a Master of Education with the Graduate School of Education; a Master of Business Administration with Wharton; and a JD degree and a Master of Science in Health and Law with Penn Law.
“These unique opportunities are for the exceptional students able to meet the rigorous application standards of both Penn Dental Medicine and the secondary program,” adds Dr. Hangorsky. Interested DMD students apply to the dual-degree programs through the School’s Office of Academic Affairs during their first year of dental school, and if recommended for a program by the Penn Dental Medicine Dual-Degree Admissions Committee, they then must apply to the respective programs, each with their own admissions criteria.
Dean Denis Kinane along with invited guest speaker Dr. Lewis Proffitt (D’73, WG’80), a member of the School’s Board of Overseers, recognized the accomplishments of the School’s current dual-degree candidates at the luncheon. Dr. Proffitt, who led a multidisciplinary dental group in New Jersey and contributed important research to the impact of periodontal disease on preterm birth and Type II diabetes, spoke on the many benefits of interprofessional training and attributes much of his success to holding dual degrees from Penn – both his DMD and an MBA from Wharton.
“My dual degree in translational research is challenging me to think about what I really want to do,” says Nishat Shahabuddin (D’17), who is considering being a clinician, a clinician educator, and a teacher of basic science as well as a researcher. “It’s adding a lot to my educational experience. Penn has always been a leader in basic science, but translational research is a newer concept and Penn is paving the way for a new field. I’m excited to be part of it.”
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