IUSD’s Global Outreach programs offer DDS students unparalleled opportunities to understand and experience oral healthcare in a global setting. Students are encouraged to participate in international student exchanges, interprofessional global healthcare seminars, and culturally diverse global service learning trips to strengthen the student’s sense of responsibility to both local and global communities.
The hallmark feature of Global Service Learning (GSL) at IUSD is its emphasis on implementing sustainable oral health prevention, which is accomplished by undertaking the following:
- Working alongside communities that ask for IUSD’s assistance in fulfilling a local need
- Partnering with local dental schools that are successfully implementing oral health education, screening, or other preventative measures and learning from their methods to assist with urgent dental needs
- Identifying and training local community members who can ultimately continue the preventative efforts
With these imperatives, GSL at IUSD strives to eventually transition out of providing clinical care and ultimately empower local partners to take ownership and gain capacity for their respective program.
In addition to serving in different countries, IUSD encourages students to participate in global dental university exchange programs. By experiencing dental education in a different country, students gain unique insight on differences in dental teaching methods, thereby deepening professional understanding of the field.
Post-travel evaluations have consistently shown the transformative nature of the program. GSL not only enables students to gain hands-on training and one-on-one clinical instruction from supervising faculty, but it dramatically transforms how future oral healthcare professionals view their roles in society.