implant program alumni welcomed NYUCD visitors last August. Seated,
left to right: South Korean Alumni Study Club President Dr. Hyung
Goog Ko, Past-President Dr. Tae-Sung Kim, Dr. Cho, Associate Dean
Hirsch, Dr. Elian, and Dr. Dal-Joon Yoo, Class of 1998.
Cho, DDS, MS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Implant Dentistry
Dr. Sang-Choon Cho is a 1997 graduate of the Advanced Study Program
in Implant Dentistry for International Dentists and a 2003 DDS Program
graduate. Prior to coming to NYUCD, Dr. Cho earned a dental degree
(1984) and a Master of Science degree (1991) from Kyung-pook National
University in South Korea, and practiced privately in South Korea
for eight years.
The first thing a private practitioner in South Korea shows his visitors
is usually a room in his office dedicated to ongoing training and
education. “Korean dentists — especially NYUCD alumni
— are passionate about continuing education,” said Dr.
Yoonje Jang, a 1997 graduate of the Advanced Study Program in Implant
Dentistry, as he pointed out a spacious classroom stocked with instructional
CDs and videos during my trip to Korea last August with Dr. Stuart
M. Hirsch, Associate Dean for Development and International Programs;
Dr. Nicholas Elian, Director of the Implant Dentistry Program; and
Mr. H. Kendall Beacham, Assistant Dean for Continuing Education. Enthusiasm
for continuing education is a pivotal part of a competitive culture
that has made many South Korean dental offices showcases for the latest
digital technology, meticulously kept patient charts, and distinctive
decor, some featuring waiting areas set amidst rock gardens and ponds
brimming with exotic fish.
The high value that South Korean alumni place on keeping up with the
latest advances in dentistry has led them to create a model for continuing
education so successful that NYUCD alumni in other countries, including
Italy, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia, are working to emulate it. It was
a desire to see this model first-hand that led Dr. Hirsch and Dr.
Elian to invite me on their week-long trip to my native South Korea,
where I helped to arrange meetings with graduates of our international
implant dentistry program who have established study clubs over the
past five years in the capital, Seoul, and in three other cities,
Daegu, Inchon, and Pusan. Some 25 alumni train over 200 Korean dentists
annually in these clubs, as well as in continuing education classes
and brief seminars, including some accredited by the Korean Dental
NYUCD wants to do all it can to help our international alumni to continue
to build a cohesive network for advancing knowledge in their countries.
Dr. Elian and I presented implant workshops at study club meetings
in Seoul and Daegu, and invited attendees to NYUCD to participate
in an intensive continuing education program covering the latest developments
in implant dentistry. In addition, Dr. Hirsch nominated three Korean
study club leaders — Drs. Dal-Joon Yoo, Hyung Goog Ko, and Yoonje
Jang — for faculty positions at NYUCD; the Korean alumni group
donated $15,000 for the purchase of a new implant dentistry operatory
at NYUCD; and several Korean alumni participated in NYUCD’s
annual international implant symposium in December 2003.
Each year increasing numbers of South Koreans enroll in advanced study
programs for international dentists. There are a total of 25 Koreans
enrolled in all advanced study programs at NYUCD this year, up from
14 in 1995, when I began my implant training. That year, I was one
of five Koreans studying implant dentistry at NYUCD; today there are
20 Korean implant students, reflecting the attractive professional
prospects for implant dentists in South Korea. Although some postgraduate
Korean students arrive at NYUCD knowing implant technique, few have
learned the scientific principles behind it. They find that learning
the science helps them to develop comprehensive, multidisciplinary
While most of our international students go on to work in private
practice, I hope that at least a few more will choose a teaching career,
as I have. Students who come to NYUCD from South Korea and around
are an inspiration to me. I see my interaction with them as a global
exchange of ideas. To me, that’s what continuing dental education
is all about.