Third year dental student Belle Chen has been selected to receive the Academic Careers in Oral Health Fellowship established by the University of Washington School of Dentistry. The fellowship is targeted toward students who have an interest in teaching. Belle’s winning project was titled Global Oral Health: Integration of an inter-disciplinary Global Health curriculum into the dental education.
In the Spring 2019 quarter, Belle facilitated the course Global Oral Health, taught by Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario. The course is designed to introduce both dental and public health students to global health inequities and the global burden of oral disease.
Belle Chen, UW School of Dentistry 2020
Belle worked with Dr. Seminario to expand the course by integrating the Harvard Global Health curriculum into the existing curriculum. Her specific role in developing the course included sharing her field experience in the inter-professional health project in Claverito, Peru, developing a platform to explore the cultures and global realities of different countries, and analyzing data on students’ perceptions as well as their knowledge of the subject before and after the course.
“This fellowship will allow me to showcase my work with Dr. Seminario on educating future dentists about the importance of global oral health,” said Belle. The fellowship work consists of documenting student learning through exams, photos, and final projects in addition to brainstorming ways to keep students engaged during class and maintain that engagement with the subject after the course ends.
Belle met Dr. Seminario during her first year in dental school. Belle reached out to Dr. Seminario, at the time the only dental professor associated with the Department of Global Health, to discuss plans of incorporating public health into her career goals. Dr. Seminario invited Belle to join the Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health as an intern. Through her participation with the DeRouen Center, Belle hopes to increase dental students’ awareness of and involvement in global oral health.
After she completes dental school, Belle plans to pursue a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in either Global Health or Health Policy to gain insight into healthcare systems and creating inter-professional relationships. She also hopes to explore careers, whether academic, clinical, or both, to participate in the global initiative of improving oral health. The Academic Careers in Oral Health Fellowship will enhance her skills as a future leader in global oral health.