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International Dental Studies Program Draws Students from Record Number of Countries

IDS 2011 class president Dr. Kunal Karan of India (left), Dr. Fabiola Palacios-Barrionuevo of Argentina (center) and Dr. Veronica Montgomery of Brazil (right) come from three of the 16 countries represented in the IDS program.

October  28, 2009

Currently walking the halls of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry are 45 international students from 16 different countries. Together, these students compose the 2010 and 2011 classes of the International Dental Studies (IDS) program, which offers internationally trained dentists the opportunity to gain skills in and knowledge of the dental profession as practiced in the United States.

IDS students already hold dental degrees from schools outside the U.S., but lack the accreditation to practice in the United States. By completing the IDS program at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, students earn a U.S. doctor of dental surgery degree and eligibility to sit for any state or regional dental board in the country.

Since its beginning in 1987, the dental school's IDS program has seen hundreds of students from 48 nations graduate to become practicing dentists in the United States or elsewhere around the world. India, Iran, Russia and Vietnam have been some of the most highly represented countries over the program's two decades. In recent years, the program has seen strong growth in students coming from the Middle East and South America.

The two-year accelerated program is quite popular, receiving more than 400 applications and enrolling 22 students in July of each year.

"The diversity of countries represented in IDS is remarkable and continues to grow," says Dr. Patricia King, IDS program director. "The variety of cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities we see in our program speaks to the desirability of being a Pacific IDS student — and creates a diverse student body which nurtures a mixture of viewpoints and learning experiences."

The curriculum, consisting of both academic and clinical training, uses the facilities of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and other Northern California clinical sites in Union City, Oakland and San Mateo. IDS students begin clinical patient care in the second quarter and spend the greater portion of their second year in clinical practice.

"Each day at school is part of an amazing experience at this great institution," said Dr. Kunal Karan, student president of the IDS Class of 2011. "Academic excellence and cultural amalgamation make it a unique experience here."

"I am pleased that at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry we have some of the best and brightest international dentists," said Dean Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr., who himself is also involved in global dental education issues as the current president of the International Federation of Dental Education Associations (IFDEA). "They offer a broader dimension to our program, and bring opportunities for students to learn about oral healthcare and other aspects of the countries and cultures represented in the IDS program."

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