Brielle Renz, BS
Most Engaging Part of the Program: One of the most engaging aspects of the dental program is the time that we get to spend in our Sim-Clinic. Sim-Clinic allows us to take all of the knowledge we receive in lectures and put it into action. We started working with instruments and our hand-pieces within the first few weeks of school. This proved to be a great confidence builder as we were able to watch our hand skills progress over the year.
Best Clinical Experience: One of the best clinical experiences I’ve had this year occurred while participating in the “Give Kids A Smile” day at a local pediatric dental office. I was working with a little boy that needed a couple of sealants put on his teeth. While sealants are a very minor procedure the boy was still quite distraught and had big alligator tears running off his cheeks. After a little bit of chatting about our favorite cartoon shows and why we like riding bikes he told me he would let me seal his teeth. It was a wonderful feeling to know that I had gained this child’s trust and that his oral health would be improved because of it.
Pomona Homeless Outreach Project: One of the clubs that I was immediately drawn to was the Pomona Homeless Outreach Project. This club meets on Tuesday evenings and serves a meal to the homeless of the Pomona community. We not only provide them a hot meal, but equally as important, we provide good conversation and companionship. I met several wonderful people through this club and each time I participate, I leave feeling like I got more out of it than I put in.
Luisa Snyder, BS
Community Service: Growing up in Guatemala, I have seen poverty first hand and realize that community service is an important tool that can influence and improve people’s lives. Now, as a dental student at WesternU, I volunteer through the Latino Medical Student Association Club providing dental exams to local migrant workers and low income families. I observed how my presence comforted a pregnant woman who spoke only Spanish and looked at me with trust and security. As I explained how her dental hygiene would affect her baby, I could see the difference that my service had made.
Support From Medical Student: As the first dental class, we did not have upperclassmen to be our mentors and guide us through the hardships of the first year. However, in Pejman Fani, a DO 2012 student, we found a selfless, compassionate leader that took a role as a mentor and friend. Even though he had no obligation to take this role, he always made me and other dental students feel part of the WesternU family and created a welcoming environment for our new college. Throughout the year he encouraged me with my classes, gave me tips and provided information that helped me do well in my classes. He has inspired me to do the same for other incoming students.
Humanism: WesternU’s humanistic philosophy is one of the main reasons why I chose this university. I experience every day the views that make this university so unique. Dr. Timothy Martinez is the Associate Dean for Community Partnerships and Access to Care, and he is a great example of approaching health care in a humanistic manner. He is caring and compassionate, and he is always willing to extend a hand when there is need. He has taught me that volunteering around the community is very important and that even if the help is small, it can make a big difference in someone’s life. He is an inspiration and a role model to follow.
Susan Braik, BS
Most Memorable Experience: There is nothing like the first time that you pick up a handpiece, step on the pedal, and touch it to a tooth surface (even if it is just a plastic tooth in your typodont). It was the first moment that I really felt like my dream of being a dentist was actually coming true. I don’t think I will ever forget that feeling.
Pipeline to Health Careers: I have been part of the Pipeline to Health Careers 7th grade program since coming to WesternU. It is so much fun to teach these students about the opportunities available to them in health care and about topics important to their health and the well being of their families.
Favorite Faculty Member: While there are several faculty members that I really like, I think my favorite is Dr. Lazarchik. Dr L is always ready with a tip on how to improve in the clinic, an encouraging word, and a smile. On top of this, we are from the same region of the country and it is always comforting to hear that familiar southern accent!
Whole Person Approach: We are taught from the first day that there is a person attached to the mouth that we are working on and are frequently reminded that many people visit the dentist more often than their physician. With this in mind we focus on the whole person, not just the part that we are working on.
Mike Saade, BS
Why I Chose WesternU: Being a part of the inaugural class of the College of Dental Medicine has been the best experience of my life. When applying to the university I had no upperclassmen to talk to and relied solely on the answers from the WesternU faculty. The faculty who were the reason I chose WesternU (Dean Koelbl, Dr. Trombley, Dr. Henson, and Ms. Monehen) had passion and dedication to a program that was still non-existent. They made me feel like family from the first time I visited campus and took time to tell me why WesternU would be a great dental school. They take time out of their day to meet with students to listen to our needs and care about us on a personal level. I owe a lot of my success to the hard work they have put in to build this program.
Not A Large Public University: The first time I visited campus as a prospective applicant, several current students approached me and asked how I was doing and what program I was visiting. This caught my attention immediately as I came from a very large public university where that rarely occurs. The emphasis of humanism continued with the basic science faculty educating the students in a way that focused on the patient and their concerns. In addition, our first weeks of school included participating in simulated patient encounters where we learned the proper way to interact with patients. I have seen humanism practiced in all aspects around campus which I believe starts with President Pumerantz and is funneled down to the students.
Elizabeth Andrews, DDS, MS
Why WesternU: I chose WesternU for its forward thinking and innovative approach to healthcare. I think it is important for healthcare professionals to communicate with each other about mutual patients in order for the patient to have complete healthcare.
Interprofessional Health Care: Dentistry and good oral health play an important role in the patient’s overall health picture. We tend to compartmentalize our health care and by teaching students from the beginning of their health education how to effectively work together across disciplines WesternU can change the trend to a more complete healthcare model.
Systems Based Curriculum: A unique aspect of the College of Dental Medicine Program is that they learn in a systems based curriculum. I think this type of learning promotes complete healthcare and enables the students to see how the body functions as a whole.
David Lazarchik, DMD
Why did you choose to work at WesternU? I came to WesternU two years ago to be part of a new and innovative way of training students to be general dentists. Although other universities have incorporated bits and pieces of our philosophy, we have put all the pieces together in one program. Examples include early clinical experience, integration of biomedical science and clinical practice, an interdisciplinary dental sciences curriculum, emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving skills, and a patient centered faculty-student group practice model. All this, plus a highly collaborative faculty and staff and an open and respectful working relationship with our students has assured that I have not been disappointed in my decision to move 2500 miles to come here. (The California weather and lifestyle is also a plus!)
How do you think the interprofessional education (IPE) curriculum will enhance student’s professional lives? By learning and practicing together during their education at WesternU, students will begin to realize that no healthcare profession exists alone or above any other. If we are truly interested in the overall health of our patients, we must learn to work together to that end. For example, periodontal (gum) disease can complicate the management of diabetes, and diabetes can affect the severity of periodontal disease. Only by working together to treat both problems can our patients achieve optimal overall health. IPE offers the opportunity for students to learn in their first semester what other professions do and what they have to offer our patients. Since IPE continues throughout the student’s time at WesternU, we hope that by working together we can begin to break down the barriers that exist between professions in the “real world” and thus be able to offer our patients the best overall health possible.
Jenny Sun Tjahjono
On Humanisim: Through the Service Learning course, I lead 26 WesternU students who presented hand hygiene and oral hygiene instructions to six elementary schools in Pomona Unified School District. It was a rewarding experience for the WesternU students to assist the underserved children in Pomona.
WesternU’s Curriculum: The curriculum has several aspects to be commended that will benefit graduates. One of the several, include the ability for students to work at extramural sites, offers them the experience to learn how to treat patients for a specific procedure that can be performed in a variety of ways.
On Interprofessional Education:The IPE curriculum will enhance a student’s professional life by fostering a philosophy that professionals working together cooperatively ultimately translate into taking care of patients effectively. The curriculum teaches the importance of how professionals can improve patient care and outcomes through collaboration.
DMD, Class of 2013
As an alumni of the College of Dental Medicine you can expect:
Opportunities: Most DMD graduates will practice as general dentists but others may become a specialist such as an endodontist, oral surgeon, orthodontist, pediatric dentist, periodontist, or prosthodontist.
Starting income: $100,000 – $175,000
Expected Job Growth Next Ten Years: 9%
The WesternU Difference: Early clinical training to develop professional and communication skills; wide array of clinical training sites; low student-to-faculty ratio.