Spring 2005 Table of Contents
     
International Partners in Health
A Post-Jamaica Outreach Survey Asks
Students to Assess Its Educational Value
 

To 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."