Bianco is a Clinical Assistant Fellow at NYUCD. He has completed
two Advanced Study Programs for International Dentists, the first
in Comprehensive Care General Dentistry in 2000; the second in Implant
Dentistry in 2002. He expects to complete the Advanced Study Program
in Esthetic Dentistry in summer 2003. |
had no idea how significantly my career goals would change when
I enrolled in the Advanced Study Program in Comprehensive Care General
Dentistry in 1999, one year after receiving my dental degree from
La Sapienza University Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in Rome,
Italy. When I arrived at NYUCD, I saw myself as a student on a narrowly
focused, one-year mission to improve my clinical skills and then
return immediately to Italy to enter general practice. But I ended
up staying for three additional years, during which I added specialty
training in implant dentistry and esthetic dentistry, became a Clinical
Assistant Fellow who helped train other international students,
and was a front-line responder helping victims of the September
11 terrorist attacks. This summer I am finally ready to make that
return trip to Rome—with a broader, more ambitious career
path carved out for myself.
When I began the Comprehensive Care General Dentistry program, I
quickly found that NYUCD students are expected to devote significant
amounts of time to training in the College’s clinics. The
bustling clinics were a world away from La Sapienza’s serene
libraries, where I had spent long hours preparing for the rigorous
theoretical examinations that are a mainstay of Italian dental education.
Patients from the seemingly limitless range of ethnic and racial
backgrounds found in New York City streamed into the NYUCD clinics
with an extensive array of problems unlike anything I’d seen
before. Each passing day brought new challenges and increased self-confidence.
I began to feel that I could go even beyond my program’s goals,
which are to train generalists to provide quality comprehensive
care with specialist support. I became increasingly interested in
specializing, and spent a good deal of time observing students and
faculty in the College’s specialty care clinics. The advanced
techniques taught in the implant dentistry clinic, and the attractive
prospects for implant specialists in Italy, led me to decide to
postpone my return to Rome and to enroll instead in the two-year
Advanced Study Program in Implant Dentistry.
Led by Dr. Dennis P. Tarnow, Chairman of the Ashman Department of
Implant Dentistry, and Dr. Nicholas Elian, Director of the Implant
Dentistry Program, implant faculty members all treat students as
equals and encourage us to take on challenging cases. I was thrilled
to have the opportunity to help Dr. Tarnow treat endentulous patients
needing full-mouth rehabilitation— a process that produces
dramatic improvements in the patient’s quality of life.
The September 11 attacks struck shortly after I had finished the
first half of the implant program. After watching the Twin Towers
crumble, I grabbed some basic medical supplies, such as eye drops
and bandages, and, at Dr. Tarnow’s suggestion, rode down on
a bicycle to the disaster site, where I helped set up an emergency
hospital in a damaged building.
When the implant program ended, Dr. Tarnow asked me to stay on to
become a Clinical Assistant Fellow. He wanted me to assist with
lectures and help incoming international students make the same
successful transition I had made from a theoretical, textbook-based
learning style to a hands-on clinical approach. I agreed to remain
at NYUCD for an additional year, during which I also helped coordinate
the College’s 2002 annual implant symposium, which brings
alumni from around the world to NYUCD to learn about advances in
implant dentistry. I also took advantage of the additional year
to enroll in the Advanced Study Program in Esthetic Dentistry, which
uses the technologically sophisticated new Rosenthal Institute for
Aesthetic Dentistry as its prime training site.
When I finish the program this summer and finally head back to Italy,
I plan to pursue my dream of creating an advanced dental study program
modeled on NYUCD’s hands-on approach to clinical training.