Spring 2005 Table of Contents
In the National Interest:
NYUCD Leads a New Alliance to Develop a Catastrophe Preparedness Curriculum for U.S. Dental Schools

Dr. Dianne Rekow
NYUCD, the first dental school in the United States to mandate student emergency preparedness training, is spearheading a collaboration among seven dental schools and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop a flexible four-year curriculum that dental schools across the nation can use to prepare future dentists to provide trained, coordinated support in the event of a catastrophic public health crisis, including a bioterrorism attack. NYUCD's partners in this initiative are the dental schools at the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, the University at San Antonio Health Sciences Center, the University of Southern California, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

According to Dr. Dianne Rekow, Chairman of NYUCD's Bioterrorism and Catastrophe Response Task Force, "Dental schools across the nation have begun to realize the importance of preparing future dentists to participate fully in community, state, and national teams that can be part of the nation's first response to crises that challenge our medical infrastructure, including natural catastrophes and chemical accidents as well as bioterrorism. Yet not all dental schools have the resources to develop and integrate emergency preparedness modules into their programs. That is where our group of collaborators comes in. We are working together to formulate sets of case studies that can be used by dental educators at both large and small schools to teach students to respond to catastrophic public health events that could overwhelm local medical capabilities. Our strategy is to begin by creating a set of six case studies that can be used in a problem-based approach to learning. The case studies will focus on a bioterrorism attack, natural accidents like earthquakes, and environmental catastrophes, including chemical spills. To assure that the case studies are timely and have real-world relevance, they will be modeled on events in the news."

The anticipated launch date for the first set of materials created by the collaborating institutions is fall 2005.

In addition to Dr. Rekow, NYUCD faculty involved in this project include Assistant Dean for Dental Hygiene Programs Cheryl M. Westphal; Dr. David Glotzer, Clinical Professor of Cariology and Operative Dentistry and a member of the Bioterrorism and Catastrophe Response Task Force; Dr. Benhamin Godder, Clinical Associate Professor of Cariology and Operative Dentistry; Dr. Joan A. Phelan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine; Dr. Miriam R. Robbins, Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine; Dr. Frederick G. More, Professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion and of Pediatric Dentistry; and Dr. Robert J. Boylan, Associate Professor of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology.