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WesternU College of Dental Medicine celebrates Sim Center ribbon cutting

by Rodney Tanaka

April 24, 2024

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WesternU College of Dental Medicine Dean Elizabeth Andrews, DDS, MS, cuts the ribbon on the new CDM Simulation Center 2 April 18, 2024. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine (CDM) celebrated the expansion of its dental simulation center with a ribbon cutting April 18, 2024 in Pomona, California.

CDM added more than 2,000 square feet in expanding its simulation center and creating the Pre-Clinical Dispensary and Storage Space for dental equipment materials and supplies. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

CDM added more than 2,000 square feet in expanding its simulation center and creating the Pre-Clinical Dispensary and Storage Space for dental equipment materials and supplies. The Sim Center 2 provides new work stations, each equipped with an A-dec simulator, a Kilgore manikin head, overhead light, bench top workspace, additional modern swing light for desk area, and doctor’s stool.

The new space addresses several needs that arose from expansion and shifting educational models and strategies. CDM’s International Dentist Program (IDP) expanded from five to 20 students per cohort for this class that started in March. CDM worked with University Financial Services and Treasury to take this project from concept to implementation in a year.

“We didn’t want it to impact the current DMD students. We wanted something that gave IDP students their space, while also allowing for other students to utilize this expansion,” said CDM Dean Elizabeth Andrews, DDS, MS.

CDM alumna Farnaz Chegini, DMD ’17, tries out a SimToCare, a virtual haptic simulator trainer. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

CDM repurposed the support lab that was previously limited to laboratory procedures to now serve as a multipurpose, multiuse and flexible instructional space by adding simulation capability.

“We said, ‘Let’s use our space in a more effective and positive way for our students,’” Andrews said. “That’s how the Sim Center 2 came into being.”

In addition to the IDP expansion, CDM is shifting some training and competency assessment to simulation rather than live patient assessment.

“All D3 and D4 students will have rotations to the simulation center to maintain and improve their skills and take assessments when appropriate,” Andrews said. “Lastly, our licensure examination has moved to a simulated version, so this space helps to fill our need to have additional simulators for the student body.”

“Having the new expanded multi-use space will help CDM have more flexibility in scheduling curriculum and instruction as there is such high and competing demands for the simulation space from the various curricular arms and class years,” said CDM Associate Dean for Dental Sciences Education Sandra Farah-Franco, DDS, MS. “Additionally, more simulation space allows for all the other extracurricular outreach initiatives with which our students engage the community through service and mentorship of youth and aspiring future dental students.”

The sim lab improvements and upgrades also include a main instructor station with simulator and multimedia broadcasting center, a global surgical microscope used to demonstrate endodontic and other intricate techniques in dentistry, two additional faculty desks, a wet lab that includes six model trimmers and eight Whip Mix Vacuum mixes, and a dispensary area with a roll-up pass-through window.

“I want to thank everyone for their support as it serves to give back to the students and the community,” Andrews said. “Everything we do has a ripple effect because we train a person to be a dentist, who then impacts so many other lives. A single student can go on to impact the lives of many, many others.”

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