Scholars in Dental Education

HSDM faculty and staff members who support the Scholars in Dental Education program.

Scholars in Dental Education Program

The Scholars in Dental Education (S.D.Ed) program was created at Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) for predoctoral students who are interested in pursuing careers in dental education. The purpose of the program is to prepare dental students for academic careers upon graduation.

The Scholars program is a longitudinal program spanning from a student’s second year in the DMD curriculum and aims to provide students interested in academic dentistry with a unique opportunity to engage in the three pillars of dental educational research, teaching, and curriculum initiatives.

Each year, students who are interested in the Scholars program are selected from a pool of second year dental student applicants. The program includes both self-directed and mentored exploration of dental academia. Scholars also serve as education and curriculum liaisons for their classes, allowing students to immerse themselves in different leadership components of a dental academic career. Once accepted to the program, Scholars are expected to attend regular monthly meetings, serve as student representatives on educational committees, complete a research project, assist with teaching, provide mentorship to underclassmen, and provide ongoing course feedback to faculty mentors and relevant course directors. Students also assist with selecting the new Scholars for the upcoming year.

Components of the Scholars program:

  1. Mentorship We aim to provide faculty mentorship for accepted students who work in collaboration with chosen faculty on teaching projects.
  2. Research project – Each Scholar creates a capstone project and a portfolio of projects that can be carried onto a residency at HSDM in the MMSc Dental Education program or at other universities and positions.
  3. Education committees – Scholars will participate in educational committees with the goal of understanding the complexity and diversity of a role in dental education.
  4. Admissions committee – Participation in the admissions committee provides Scholars with a behind-the-scenes look at working on dental education curriculum.
  5. Teaching opportunities – Candidates will gain insight into the day-to-day expectations of a faculty member. They will interview faculty members, participate in meetings, and connect with teachers, leaders, program directors, deans from different programs and department heads.
  6. Administrative – Scholars will learn about the administrative responsibilities associated with academic dentistry.
  7. Monthly meetings and guest speaker events
  8. Knowledge in academic dentistry and careers – Scholars gain additional exposure to a variety of faculty and leaders in dental education.

Students enrolled in the Scholars program will also learn about best practices and evidence-based teaching methods. This includes teaching, lecturing, and clinical chair-side instruction along with helping with labs.

Please contact Dr. Sang Park or Dr. Shibani Sahni for more details.

Student Impact

Headshot of Mirissa Price, DMD19“I wanted to give my interest in academic dentistry a chance to flourish, and was able to do just that and more as a Scholar of Dental Education. I took part in curriculum initiatives at Harvard, peer teaching, research in dental academia, leadership opportunities, and more. I gained appreciation for the diversity of roles available to dental faculty, and developed such an interest in dental academia that I guided my residency selection toward a program that offered academic involvement.” Mirissa Price, DMD19, pediatric dental resident at Boston Children’s Hospital  

Joshua Heller, DMD22“I have always loved the thought of teaching. I have worked with faculty to create instructional videos for the first- and second-year students at HSDM to facilitate their introduction to the dental clinic. I also designed and implemented a needs assessment survey to assess the learning needs of third- and fourth-year predoctoral dental students. The program provides the perfect framework, support, and resources for developing my teaching skills and utilizing my research findings to make a lasting impact on dental education.” – Joshua Heller, DMD22

Natalie Wen, DMD22“The small size of the program suits the small, interconnected HSDM community that values advancing dental knowledge through research. The program serves as a medium where students can network and explore different topics within dental academia, including admissions, quality improvement, curriculum planning, and teaching methodology.” Natalie Wen, DMD22