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Peruvian Dental Students Admire UMSOD

Written by Adam Zewe

Roxana Flores, Erika Pimentel and Angela Requena traveled more than 3,500 miles to see dentistry from a different perspective. The three students spent September at UMSOD on a month-long externship from the dental school they attend, Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru. They were drawn to UMSOD by the history of the institution and the high-tech learning environment.

After observing the simulation labs and clinics, the externs were impressed by the technology students utilize every day. They were interested in seeing how electronic patient records improve efficiency. During a digital dentistry demonstration, the externs were awed by the speed and precision of a CEREC machine. They had seen videos of CEREC crown-milling machines, but had never watched one in action. "It's been eye-opening to see the incredible technology and organization that this school has," remarks Requena.

Cayetano Heredia University is smaller than UMSOD, with only about 50 students per class. In Peru, students enter dental school after graduating from high school, but they must complete a five-year program to earn a DDS. In addition, Peruvian dental students are responsible for recruiting their own patients and must purchase their own instruments and materials.

Peru may seem a world away from Baltimore, but there are some similarities between the two schools, Ricardi says. For example, clinical instruction is executed in a very similar way at Cayetano Heredia University. However, the externs were surprised by how many different brands of dental supplies and equipment American students have to choose from.

The externship was beneficial for Flores, Pimentel and Requena because it showed them that dentistry is a highly-valued profession all over the world. "I've enjoyed being able to see a different way of doing things. I hope we can take some of the things weýve seen here and share them with the staff in Peru," Pimentel says.

For more information about externship programs at UMSOD, contact Dr. Bernard Levy, director of global operations, at

Fast Facts: Peru

LOCATION: western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador

AREA: 496,224 square miles, slightly smaller than Alaska

POPULATION: 29.5 million

HISTORY: Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent civilizations, most notably the Inca Empire, which was captured by Spanish conquerors in 1533. Peru declared independence from Spain in 1821, and has continued to face periods of political unrest, as well as periods of stability.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara

CAPITAL: Lima, population 8.7 million

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Mining, steel, petroleum refining, natural gas, fishing, cement, textiles, food processing, rubber, machinery, chemicals, furniture

CLIMATE: Varies from tropical in the east to dry desert in the west; temperate to frigid in the Andes

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