evaluate the educational outcome of an international dental outreach
program for the underserved from a student perspective, NYUCD faculty
conducted a survey of student participants in the College's
annual outreach trip to Jamaica, West Indies.
Prior to the April 2005 trip, the 14 participating NYUCD students were interviewed
and asked to write a brief explanation of their reasons for participating in the
outreach. After completing the outreach, the students were asked to submit a written
response to the question, "How did your outreach experience affect your dental
education?" The surveys were designed, compiled, and analyzed by Dr. Ralph P.
Cunningham, Associate Professor of General Dentistry and Management Science and
Group Practice Director, who has led the Jamaica Outreach program for many years;
Dr. Ivy Peltz, Clinical Assistant Professor of General Dentistry and Management
Science; Dr. William J. Maloney, Instructor in General Dentistry and Management
Science; and Dr. Eric S. Studley, Clinical Assistant Professor of General Dentistry
and Management Science and Group Practice Director.
Both the pre- and post-trip surveys found that students believed that a positive
educational outcome results from a well-organized, faculty-supervised outreach program.
The students recognized it as a source of information and enlightenment, and as an
experience that would shape their professional careers, calling the outreach "easily
the most memorable event during dental school"; "a life-changing experience"; and
crediting it with "opening up a new interest in providing care for underserved communities."