New Pediatric Honors Program Launches


Dr. Maria Velasco, Director of the Pediatrics Honors Program, and Annie Herman (D’20), the inaugural pediatrics honors student.

Philadelphia — Students with an interest in pediatric dentistry now have a new way to gain added exposure to the specialty with the introduction of a Pediatrics Honors Program. With this latest addition, there are now seven different honors program offerings at the School.

“The past couple of years there has been an increasing interest from students in pediatric dentistry with a lot of our students applying to residencies,” says Dr. Maria Velasco, Director of the Pediatrics Honors Program. “We try to give our DMD students the best exposure we can to pediatrics, but this honors program will give those students who are motivated to get additional experience in the specialty the opportunity to do so.”

Students can apply to the competitive program in the fall of their third year with the program running from July through March of their fourth year. Presently, there is just one student per year selected for this new program. Annie Herman (D’20) is the inaugural pediatrics honors student and will begin the program this summer.

“I’m so excited about this opportunity,” says Herman. “I hope to pursue pediatric dentistry and know this will be a great learning experience to prepare me for a residency.”

The honors program is structured to provide a comprehensive emersion in the specialty and Herman will spend every Friday from July through March in the pediatrics clinic. Dr. Velasco explains that the honors student will work alongside the pediatric residents in the clinic, learning how to administer nitrous oxide and behavior manage those children who need nitrous and doing restorative treatment, extractions, and advanced operative procedures as needed. Herman will also be treating special needs patients and gaining experience with cases done in the sedation suite. In addition, she will shadow in the operating room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and attend the seminars that are part of the School’s pediatric residency program.

“The goal is to have our honors student provide comprehensive treatment of patients,” adds Dr. Velasco, “so they will see patients through the multiple stages of care they may require.”

Currently within the School’s other honors program, which include Research, Clinical Dentistry, Community Health, Oral Medicine, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Radiological Sciences there are 155 honors students