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Transatlantic engagement: a novel dental educational exchange


Introduction Newcastle University School of Dental Sciences (NUSDS) and Indiana University School of Dentistry in the United States of America (IUSD) are like-minded institutions committed to civic engagement. Over the last 15 years, both universities have built civic engagement into the dental curricula, however each institution operates within significantly different healthcare systems.

Aim Co-development of unique collaborative dental education; the first UK/US educational exchange programme engaged with the dental student community.

Design A dental educational exchange was developed enabling NUSDS and IUSD students to learn alongside each other within dental and community settings in both countries. Students participate in a unique face-to-face collaborative and interdisciplinary education programme within respective dental schools and by a series of video conferences scheduled before on-site visits. They gain mutual awareness of delivery, access to care and possible barriers facing patients relating to the oral healthcare systems in England, the state of Indiana and the USA. Logistical considerations were significant, aided by scoping visits to the respective partner school and video conferencing. Planning encompassed timetable restrictions, scheduling student video conferences, students' clinical access/observerships, occupational health clearances, overall educational content, student/staff evaluation and potential areas for education research.

Conclusions Currently in its fourth year, this is a unique example of a collaborative educational exchange between the UK and USA.

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Our thanks to the late Professor Jimmy Steele, CBE (former Head of School, NUSDS) and his successor Professor Mark Thomason, who both possessed the foresight to support the development of this project, hosting staff visits and permitting the School to provide financial support to the first UK students.

Professor John Williams, former Dean of IUSD and Dr Michael Kowolik, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Engagement, both of whom facilitated and supported the concurrent development of the programme in IUSD, hosting staff visits and extending warm hospitality to the Newcastle students.

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Financial support via grants and awards was given by The School of Dental Sciences and The Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University and The Indiana University School of Dentistry and Office of International Affairs, Indiana University Purdue University, Indiana.

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Correspondence to Paula J. Waterhouse.

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Waterhouse, P., Kowolik, J., Schrader, S. et al. Transatlantic engagement: a novel dental educational exchange. Br Dent J 228, 637–642 (2020).

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