After several years in practice and as USC’s Director of the Undergraduate Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, I wanted to work with USC students one-on-one. I attended USC for undergraduate as well as medical and dental school, so it has always been close to my heart. When I was asked to teach graduate students, I was thrilled at the prospect of creating ongoing relationships with incoming dentists and sharing my professional knowledge with a new group of up-and-coming dentists.
There is something incredibly rewarding about working with students at the graduate level. They are serious and eager to learn. The students give feedback and ask questions rooted in their knowledge of surgical procedures. Fortunately, the students pick up on things very quickly and frequently impress me with their dedication.
While treating patients is my primary position and I love it, teaching keeps me on my toes. I am energized by students’ quest for knowledge and their thought-provoking questions. Getting fresh perspectives students enhances patient treatment. It gives me greater awareness about why I do things a certain way when I operate and the ability to further fine-tune what I do.
My favorite part of teaching has to be the A HA moment when students see a procedure in person. All of a sudden everything they have read combines with what they are seeing. Surgery is one of the professions where mentorship is crucial and I’m happy to help students on their way to becoming excellent dentists. They certainly make what I do even more meaningful and I’m proud of them for that.