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Honors Degree Program

Penn Dental Medicine students can earn a DMD with honors in the areas of research, community health, community health, clinical dentistry, oral medicine, pediatric dentistry, and radiological services.

Those Penn Dental Medicine students with the interest, motivation, and required academic achievement can earn honors designation in numerous disciplines. The competitive honors program is designed to cultivate a leadership outlook in a select group of exceptional students and enable them to develop the skills to leverage their leadership potential in the following honors areas; Basic and Translational Research, Clinical Dentistry, Clinical Research, Community Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics as well as Radiological Sciences. All Honor students present their work at the annual Penn Dental Research Day and may be eligible to compete for many school-wide research travel grants and awards.

The application cycle and requirements within each area complement the dental curriculum and the stages of students’ dental education. Students can earn a DMD with honors in more than one discipline if they choose to but must meet the requirements for each individually. They can apply to each area at different points in their dental education.

Basic and Translational Research Honors

Students can apply to research honors this does not need to be an active link at the time of admission to Penn Dental Medicine or the midpoint of their first or second years. Students must have a 3.5 science GPA to apply prior to matriculation as a first year student. Within the research honors program, students must identify a faculty mentor and plan, implement, and execute a hypothesis-driven research project over a one- or two-year period. In addition to their individually developed projects, all honors scholars participate in Research Day during which they must present a poster. In addition, they are required to write a Research honors thesis.

Director: Dr. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia (battagli@upenn.edu)

Community Health Honors

Students can pursue community health honors during their second, third, or fourth years. For community health honors, students plan and carry out an in-depth community health experience of at least 140 hours over a one-year period at an approved program site. Among the options are projects focused on oral health education, screening, and referral programs at local Philadelphia sites, including the interdisciplinary health care clinics of the Homeless Health Initiative, Puentes, United Community Clinics and University City Hospitality Coalition. Honors students can also choose to develop projects expanding their clinical activities at the following PDM dental care programs: Penn Smiles, First Five Pediatric program, Philadelphia FIGHT, LIFE geriatric center and dental center at Sayre Health Center.

Co-Directors: Dr. Joan Gluch (gluchj@upenn.edu) and Ms. Debbie Linkstrom (dlinks@upenn.edu)

Clinical Research Honors

The Honors Program in clinical research is open to talented incoming, second, third, and fourth year students who have an interest in human subjects research (clinical and translational) and wish to gain hands-on experience over a one-year period. Selected students will receive an introduction to clinical research rules and regulations, Good Clinical Practice (GCP), study development, and clinical research operations. Students will gain experience in a variety of research settings which may include retrospective projects, observational studies, and clinical trials from different sponsor types. The actual projects available to students will depend on the current portfolio of the Clinical and Translational Research Center. Students will complete a small research project and will be required to present during the annual PDM Research Day. 

Program Director: Patricia Corby, DDS, MS (patcorby@upenn.edu)
Program Co-Director: Kira Nightingale, MS, MBA (nighki01@upenn.edu)

Honors in Dentistry for the Medically Complex (Oral Medicine)

Open to fourth- year students ONLY. Students can apply for the oral medicine honors program in the Fall of their third year. Honors in Dentistry for the Medically Complex is designed to provide overall patient care in a delivery system that includes all dental services, including emergency care, treatment planning, general dentistry, specialty care, and maintenance programs for those medically complex patients. Patients will include those with immunodeficiencies, hemophilia, transplants, complex cardiac conditions many of whom are traditionally not admitted for routine care in the main clinic.

Director: Dr. Temitope Omolehinwa (omote@alumni.dental.upenn.edu)

Honors in Endodontics
Open to senior students. Junior students can apply for the Endodontics Honors program in the Fall of their third year. HENDO is designed to provide an overall in-depth knowledge of all aspects of Endodontics above and beyond the graduate program level. Students will be taught endodontic concepts at increased depth, participate in Endodontic seminars, assist surgical procedures, and perform limited molar endodontic treatment. Furthermore, students will be assigned to assist on ongoing research projects, and their completed research project will be presented at the annual PDM Research Day and at the Annual Session of the AAE. The honors students will work closely with the directors.
 
Directors: Dr. Frank Setzer (fsetzer@upenn.edu); Dr. Sumin Lee (suminlee@upenn.edu).
Honors in Pediatric Dentistry

Open to fourth- year students ONLY. Students may apply for the Pediatric Dentistry Honors Program in their 3rd year. This honors program allows the student to expand their knowledge about comprehensive treatment planning and pediatric patient care by participating in the advanced pediatric dentistry seminar series with the Pediatric dental residents and by using more advanced behavioral management procedures that include utilization of nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation, oral conscious sedation and general anesthesia during their clinical rotations. The honors students will enhance their clinical and didactic skills in pediatric restorative procedures such as stainless steel crowns, pulpotomies, pulpectomies, indirect pulp capping, anterior aesthetic restorations, etc. They will also gain exposure to operating room procedures. All these activities will better prepare honors students for a residency program in Pediatric Dentistry. Students complete the Pediatric Dental honors requirement within the Pediatric Clinic and the Sedation Suite.

Director: Dr. Maria Velasco (velascf@upenn.edu).

Honors in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery honors program allows selected 4th year dental students to learn about and perform more advanced surgical procedures (i.e. preprosthetic surgery, complex dental extractions, biopsies, etc.). This program allows honors students to enhance their clinical skills in oral surgery procedures, gain exposure to OR procedures, and better prepare them for possible careers in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Contact: Steven Wang (Steven.Wang@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

Honors in Orthodontics

The Orthodontics Honors Program is open to fourth- year students. Students will be taught Orthodontic concepts at increased depth, participate in Orthodontics Postgraduate Lectures and assist clinical procedures. Students will actively participate in Orthodontic treatment including exposure to a variety of appliance usages, philosophies and techniques with the postgraduate residents under the supervision of attending clinical faculty. Additionally, students may be exposed to a variety of postgraduate Orthodontic lectures including multidisciplinary treatment, Craniofacial Anomalies, Biology and Biomechanics of Tooth Movement, Treatment planning seminar and Cephalometrics.

Contact: Michael Perillo (mperillo@upenn.edu)

Honors in Periodontics

Open to fourth-year students ONLY. Junior students can apply for the Periodontology Honors program in the Fall of their third year. Perio honor program is designed for adding the knowledge and skill that the regular predoctoral syllabus doesn’t cover by participating in the seminar at Grade Perio, Perio research, hands-on exercise, and other mentorship. The goal of the program is to have you perform the surgical procedure by yourself with 1on 1 faculty supervision. The honors students work closely with the Director and other Perio faculty members. You may expect applying the laser treatment, crown lengthening, open flap procedure, osseous surgery, or some advance procedure such as mucogingival surgery and implant depends on your progression.

Director: Dr. Yucheng, Chang, (yuchengc@upenn.edu)

Honors in Radiology

Open to fourth-year students ONLY. Junior students can apply for the Radiology Honors program in the Fall of their junior year. Radiology Honors program is designed to provide an overall in-depth knowledge of all aspects of imaging in dentistry above and beyond what is traditionally taught at the DMD level. The participants acquire firsthand knowledge of 2D & 3D imaging, the intricacies of acquisition and interpretation including digital intraoral, digital panoramic, and cone beam CT imaging. The honors students work closely with the Director and faculty members and interpret multiple cone beam CT cases. They will be able to discuss complicated maxillofacial diagnostics using MDCT or MRI during their rotations. The students will have an opportunity to attend the Cohen Conferences along with the Oral Medicine Residents at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. They will have opportunities to conduct research and publish with the faculty in the Division of Radiology. The honors students will present their research as a poster at the annual Penn Dental Research Day before the graduation.

Director: Dr. Mel Mupparapu, (mmd@upenn.edu)
Co-Director: Dr. Adeyinka Dayo (dayoad@upenn.edu) Administrative Contact: Umme Jahani (ujahani@upenn.edu)

Students must maintain a 3.25 GPA in all their coursework to apply to an honors degree program and are selected by a committee of faculty in each area based upon their application proposals, which must outline the scope, goals, and objectives of their honors program plan or project. Students should be aware that the honors degree program is competitive and there is no guaranteed acceptance. For general questions, please contact Honors Program Director: Dr. Boesze-Battaglia (battagli@upenn.edu).

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