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My experience at UDM’s summer enrichment program

After a four hour long trip from McAllen to San Antonio, TX, we had arrived at the annual ADEA GoDental fair. My university, The University of Texas – Pan American, had a large number of predental students attend. We also stopped at the other Texas dental schools on the way.

What else was there to learn? I took the opportunity to explore outside of my comfort zone. I made an effort to speak to various dental schools that I had already researched online to find out more information. Out of the many schools I came across, one school caught my eye in particular. Dr. Young, the director of multicultural affairs, and a dental student, Matt, representing the University of Detroit Mercy – School of Dentistry had really guided me the most. They introduced me to UDM’s Summer Enrichment Program, which would teach me more about dentistry and help me to discover more about myself and my career aspirations. This enrichment program targets students who come from educational or financially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Know the drill on health insurance marketplaces

142030139For the first 21 years of my life, I did not have dental insurance. I just paid out-of-pocket costs whenever I needed care. For me, this wasn’t an issue because I took care of my teeth and, thankfully, didn’t have many problems. I always assumed, however, that if a problem ever did arise, getting the information on attaining dental insurance would be as simple as asking my dentist.

Juggling full-time dental school and part-time research for the first time

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 10.55.43 PMWhen applying to dental school, I wasn’t considered your traditional student. I attended community college, completed a post-bac program and did not have research experience–something many predental students have experience in. Although I graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a research heavy institution, I was never exposed research. And when I realized having a research background would help my application to dental school, it was too late. Once I matriculated at UCSF for dental school, I realized having research experience is not necessary and thought to myself, “I didn’t have to do research to get in and I never will have to do it.” Things changed very quickly.

Reading between the lines: Clues to spot a “drug shopper”

pill-shoppingAs dental professionals, we strive to provide a pain-free experience to our patients. We use topical and local anesthesia to alleviate pain during the procedure, use our tactile grace to ensure that our patients have a positive dental visit, and prescribe our patients with pain medications after certain procedures to ease the recovery. However, when a patient comes into our office complaining of pain, how can we distinguish whether they are genuinely in pain or in search of pain medication for non-medical related reasons? Chances are, you will encounter this fraudulent seeking of prescription medications in your practice, known as “drug shopping.” According to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, approximately 20% of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Here are some red flags to look for in a patient who is “drug shopping:”

Alcohol and networking: mix with caution

3184695159_03ab24fac2_zI moved to Wisconsin for residency last summer. As a native Midwesterner, I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with the culture, values and cheese curds of Middle America. License plates may label this state as America’s Dairyland, but it seems to me a different indulgence is its most famous export. Beer.

Wisconsin isn’t the only drinking danger zone! Today’s dental students face alcohol-fueled culture at mainstream professional events. Social receptions tend to come well stocked with spirits. I see four significant alcohol-centered threats staring you down as an ambitious young dentist working hard to expand your network.