In March 2020, the Harvard Faculty of Dental Medicine went completely remote all students were being despatched residence, and the Harvard Dental Clinic — exactly where pupils generally hone their expertise doing the job with clients — was shut down other than for crisis care.
“We went from a entire clinic and then to a tricky cease: 100 miles per hour to zero,” mentioned German O. Gallucci, chair of the restorative dentistry and biomaterials sciences office.
With the shutdown, 3rd- and fourth-calendar year dental learners — whose curriculum is based mostly on medical apply and working experience — were being reduce off from observing patients. Although fourth-yr college students had concluded most of their specifications, 3rd-12 months college students in the Course of 2021 faced the problem of conference their graduation and competency standards irrespective of lessened scientific availability, according to Sang E. Park, HSDM’s associate dean for dental schooling.
“I have to say that it was the most tough course — the Class of 2021 — that I had to be graduating on time in my 20 yrs of getting dental school,” Park said.
Inspite of this, just about every member of the Course of 2021 graduated on time or early, a feat the school’s dean, William V. Giannobile, credits to school customers likely earlier mentioned and outside of to aid students full their demands.
“What the faculty did is they ‘sacrificed’ their college observe time to open up up the clinics to the college students,” he explained in an Oct job interview. “And then they labored three evenings per 7 days, and also on Saturdays, to offer that schooling.”
Customers of the Course of 2021 mentioned in interviews they have been at first worried about the unexpected discontinuation of their clinical education, but impressed with how the faculty responded — 1st, by adapting its curriculum to on-line for the initially several months of the pandemic, and later slowly returning college students to medical exercise in man or woman.
“I’m so glad I went to a faculty like Harvard where, honestly, they cared so substantially about helping us graduate,” said Ashiana Jivraj, a 2021 HSDM graduate who was a third-12 months student when she was sent residence.
Russell H. Taylor, a lecturer in restorative dentistry and biomaterials sciences, acknowledged that furnishing distant instruction in a specifically fingers-on area this sort of as dentistry was tough.
“There’s a large amount of abilities that you need to have to observe and you will need to do underneath supervision when you’re setting up out, since it is a quite fingers-on and a very visible career, far too,” he reported. “There’s a lot of tactile, visible items that you just cannot just assign a looking through for, always.”
‘Solving a Big Puzzle’
Coming up with a digital curriculum that designed the greatest use of students’ and college members’ time, whilst making sure that college students could meet dental competency specifications for the duration of the shutdown, was “like solving a large puzzle,” according