Advanced Graduate Student Leadership Track

The mission of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) is to educate students to become leaders in their field. Many of our graduates have dedicated their careers to research and/or academia, through which they have taken on leading roles in industry, patient care, and national organizations. The rapid changes in health care—from reform in managed care to disease and patient-care management to the implementation of electronic health records—will include dentistry and will demand strong leadership from oral-health professionals at every level. Leadership will be needed in areas including lobbying and policy development at the professional-association level, development of affordable insurance products, reform of state-level oral-health programs, development of the profession in the 21st century, direction of oral-health research in light of recent genetic advances, and positioning dental schools and academia in the current economic and political climate. Yet the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) notes that vacancies for full-time faculty positions in American dental schools nearly doubled from 2001 to 2010.

During the School’s most recent Advanced Graduate Education review, the HSDM leadership surmised that a significant number of master’s-level and some doctoral-level students might benefit from a mandatory leadership track as an option to the required research track, since some students’ ambitions and interests are more focused on academia and leadership than on “pure” research. A leadership track would help them become truliy prepared for a leadership role in their future career.


This Leadership Track will span the three advanced graduate years for master of medical science (MMSc) students. The Leadership Course in the first year is a required part of the core curriculum for all graduate students at HSDM. The experiences and electives during the last two years are designed for a smaller group of students (up to six) who demonstrate strong leadership skills. The course director has asked a number of experts in the field to be part of an advisory panel to help formulate the course and assess its progress over time.

Course Codirectors
Elsbeth Kalenderian, DDS, MPH
Angelique Skoulas, DDS, MPA

Advisory Panel
Mary Cassesso, MPA, Dean of Finance and Administration, HSDM
Jack Silversin, DMD, DrPH, President, Amicus, Inc
Mary Jo Kornacki
Graduate Student Representative

Course descriptions