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Residency Program

"Dental Public Health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form of dental practice which serves the community as a patient rather that the individual. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis" (American Dental Association, 1976).


The Department of Community Dentistry at Case Western Reserve University offers both pre- and post-doctoral training in dental public health. More information about the pre-doctoral training can be found here.

The advanced education/residency program has three different tracks to meet various candidates' needs: one-year full-time or two-year part-time for dentists with a master's degree in public health (MPH) and a two-year full-time program for dentists without an MPH or equivalent. During the first year, students in the two-year fulltime program will primarily be working towards the accredited MPH program at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. During the second year, these students will be primarily engaged in the dental public health residency activities at the School of Dental Medicine and will also be completing any pending requirements of the MPH. Those successfully completing the advanced education program will be educationally qualified to take the examination of the American Board for Dental Public Health (ABDPH).

The Commission on Dental Accreditation has granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements” to the dental public health residency program at CWRU. The program is administered by an experienced program director and faculty members. The training program will be tailored to meet each individual resident’s career goals and it will include didactic instruction, acquisition of research skills, and field experiences including community-oriented primary care. The primary training site is the School of Dental Medicine at CWRU, with extramural sites in other parts of Ohio. The field experience sites include the Greater Cleveland Free Medical Clinic, Akron Community Health Resources, Inc., among others. The didactic instruction for the residency program will encompass competencies of the American Board for Dental Public Health. Training will also include concepts such as population health, cultural competency, and health literacy. The field experience sites have been carefully chosen to increase residents’ cultural sensitivity and understanding of minority groups. Trainees will have numerous opportunities to work with underserved populations such as the indigent, refugees, and minorities.

The city of Cleveland is a vibrant location for health care, primarily provided through the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. The Department of Community Dentistry’s faculty members have expertise in dental public health, epidemiology, health services research, and behavioral sciences. Areas of research in the department include disparities in oral health, access to care, and survey research. Residents will have access to numerous learning opportunities that are available at CWRU, the premier research institution in Northeast Ohio. The residency program has excellent collaborations with the component schools/departments/centers at Case Western Reserve University: the School of Medicine’s Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Prevention Research Center, School of Social Work, etc. Residents will have the unique opportunity to contribute to the experiential learning of dental students that is also referred to as A Cornerstone Experience (ACE). One such ACE, the Healthy Smiles Sealant Program, offers an excellent service learning program to the first year dental students and is offered by the Department of Community Dentistry. In this ACE, first-year dental students place pit-and-fissure sealants on the teeth of needy children in Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Residents also have the opportunity to assist with the second-year ACE: Family First, which incorporates the care of families, inter-professional interactions, risk assessment, and small group learning into students' clinical experiences with the family they are caring for.

Following is the list of the primary faculty members affiliated with the advanced education program in dental public health at Case Western Reserve University and their areas of expertise:

Catherine Demko, PhD Epidemiology
Scott Frank, MD, MS (MPH Program Director) Public Health
James Houston, DDS General Dentist
James Lalumandier, DDS, MPH (Diplomate, ABDPH) Dental Public Health
Suchitra Nelson, PhD Epidemiology
Sena Narendran, BDS, DDPH RCS, MSc (Residency Director & Diplomate, ABDPH) Dental Public Health & Epidemiology
Kristin Victoroff, DDS, PhD Behavioral Sciences
Kristin Williams, DDS, MPH Dental Public Health