Students Tackle Issues Facing Dental Education at Annual Hackathon

UConn students participate in the 2020 ADEA New England Hackathon (Kathyrn Forth photo)

How would you run a dental school if you were dean for the day? Students with the School of Dental Medicine recently took on this challenge at the 6th Annual American Dental Education Association (ADEA) New England Curriculum Hackathon at UConn Health in Farmington.

The goal of this year’s Hackathon was to find innovative ways to tackle the problems dental education faces as the landscape of dentistry continues to progress and change.

At the event, students served as a dean for the day—innovating a dental curriculum with students from other schools and educational backgrounds, sharing their work, competing through an oral presentation, and networking with other students, residents, and faculty.

UConn School of Dental Medicine at the 2020 ADEA New England Hackathon at UConn Health. (Kathryn Forth photo)

The presentations covered a variety of topics including dental research, digital dentistry and the connection between oral health and overall health in patients. Students predicted increasing use of interprofessional teams and addressed the need to treat a diverse patient population.

“This event allows students to delve into the challenges facing dental schools today and encourage them to create innovative solutions to improve the future of dental education,” said Kathryn Forth, second-year dental student, president of the UConn ADEA Chapter, and Events Co-Chair of the ADEA District One Board.

Forth helped organize the event and recruited and introduced speakers. Forth worked alongside her second-year classmates Madison Cohen, Tyler Guido, Christian Ayeni, Alex McKenna and third-years Satpal Jutla and Yingying Zhang.

Around thirty students from UConn, Boston University, Harvard, and Tufts participated in the event, along with a panel of faculty, deans, and leaders in dental education from across New England, including School of Dental Medicine interim dean Dr. Steven Lepowsky. Dr. Zita Lazzarini, associate professor of public health at UConn, delivered the keynote address.