Dental School Leaders Gather at Penn Dental Medicine


Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine brought together deans and other senior leadership from dental schools across the country for two days of discussion on two key topics within dental education – digital innovation and teaching dentistry for persons with disabilities. The programs were held March 18 and 23, respectively, on the day before and day after the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session, held in Philadelphia, March 19-22.

“With ADEA in Philadelphia this year, it presented an opportunity to gather with other dental school leadership to share ideas and best practices on these topics of interest to everyone,” says Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark Wolff, who hosted the programs.

The first program discussed such issues as determining the scope of digital innovation, managing the challenges of implementation, and the use of dental innovation in the curriculum and research. Attendees also were able to tour the School’s Digital Design and Milling Center and the Center for Virtual Treatment Planning. Penn Dental Medicine has been a leader in digital innovation with the completion of these two centers in 2020 a culmination of the School’s digital innovation initiative aimed at integrating digital technologies at every stage of education and patient care.

The second day focused on how schools are addressing the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s standard implemented in 2020 requiring graduates to “be competent in assessing and managing the treatment of patients with special needs.” Topics of discussion included defining competency, creating a curriculum, and opportunities for collaboration. Attendees also toured the School’s Personalized Care Suite within the Care Center for Persons with Disabilities and learned how the School is providing educational experience to students in the Center.

“There are challenges all schools face related to digital innovation and student competency in ensuring we are staying at the forefront of dental education and meeting the needs of our student and patients,” says Dean Wolff. “Coming together to discuss how we can share ideas and explore solutions is tremendously beneficial.”