In addition to providing a venue for NYU College of Dentistry faculty to practice privately, and giving private-practice patients the added value of access to dentists who all have teaching positions at NYUCD, thus marrying clinical expertise with academic authority, NYU's Dental Faculty Practice also provides a clinical site for predoctoral student education. The opportunity for dental students to have a private-practice experience as part of their clinical training is believed to be unique to NYUCD.
According to Dr. Cosmo V. DeSteno, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chief Operating Officer of the NYU Dental Faculty Practice, "Beginning in the summer following their third year, five groups of six students each work one day a week at the NYU Dental Faculty Practice located adjacent to the New York University Health Center at the University's main campus in Greenwich Village. Students participating in the program, a 40-week 'senior elective mini residency,' must be in good academic standing with a grade-point average of 3.2 or higher."
"Although a supervising faculty member would come to my treatment room at the Faculty Practice to answer my questions and to check on the care I was providing, faculty rarely sat chairside for most of a patient's appointment, as is often the case in the predoctoral patient care centers at the college," says Dr. Stephen DiBenedetto, '09, who plans to go into private practice in Connecticut.
"I learned to work quickly and efficiently, seeing an average of seven patients a day compared to seeing two patients a day at the college," added Dr. DiBenedetto.
Although the "mini residency" students have a demanding schedule, they also enjoy personalized attention from their supervising faculty, explains Dr. Wen-Ing Kao, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Cariology & Comprehensive Care, who is the on-site program director.
"Because each student works with the same small group of faculty members throughout the year, the professors develop a close relationship with the students and get to know their strengths and weaknesses particularly well," says Dr. Kao.
"The students I treated were like the people I expect to treat when I go into private practice after completing a general practice residency at Nassau University Medical Center," says Dr. Concetta Mangiaracina, '09. "They took an active interest in their care, kept their appointments, and were eager to learn how to improve their oral health."
"Although they are still students," notes Ms. Barbara Donofrio, Director of the NYU Dental Faculty Practice, "the students are nevertheless expected to assume many of the responsibilities of a practicing dentist. For example, any student who can't make it to the Practice is responsible for finding another student in the program to cover for them. We also expect students to be familiar with the Faculty Practice fee schedule, and to be comfortable discussing it with their patients."
"The Faculty Practice is the place to be for any student who wants to become a general dentist and boost their skills in operative dentistry and basic restorations," says Dr. Eric Steinbach, '09, who will enter a general practice residency program in September at Long Island College Hospital. "When I trained at the Faculty Practice, I developed a special sense of responsibility for my patients. When one patient needed extra time to complete her comprehensive treatment plan, I remained at the Faculty Practice for a month beyond the end of the mini residency to see her case through to a successful completion."