VAW Global Health Alliances develops community health systems while providing interns the opportunity to work alongside experienced local healthcare professionals. VAW Global Dental Interns work closely with community partners to implement dental clinics across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Through the Dental Outreach program, interns learn about healthcare in a global context and assist with dental procedures, treatment courses, and clinic operations through shadowing, measuring vital signs, and training on proper disinfection and sanitization techniques — all under the direct supervision of experienced local dentists and staff.
Interns will prepare for their trip throughout the year by attending team training sessions, participating in local community service projects, and developing team building activities, led by their Team Leader or Faculty Team Leader. Interns are required to attend trainings and workshops prior to their trip, so that they are well prepared upon arrival in country.
This is an intensive internship — valuable to future dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, as well as other future healthcare providers, global practitioners, and anyone interested in gaining skills in public health while supporting healthcare systems around the world.
While on-site, interns will be required to attend several orientations and workshops focused on professional development and cultural sensitivity, which will reinforce the trainings they did leading up to their trip. Additionally, interns will be required to demonstrate proficiency in clinical skills, such as measuring blood pressure, biosecurity and biosafety measures, and other skills — approved by a local healthcare provider — before being allowed to assist in those stations during clinics.
Throughout their time in-country, and especially while in clinic, it is of utmost importance that interns portray health care realities and burden of disease accurately, show professionalism, and respect patients privacy and integrity at all times. During clinics, interns will be placed each day in one of following stations:
Interns will greet patients as they come into clinic, collect their personal and medical history, and record their current symptoms. They will work with local community leaders, VAW Global staff, and, in some countries, translators. They will record all of the information for the dentist’s review.
Interns will measure patients’ vital signs, including blood pressure, under the direct supervision of a locally licensed nurse, physician, or other local healthcare provider. Interns must have tested out of training in order to participate in this station.
Interns will have the opportunity to learn about dental procedures and treatment courses by shadowing and assisting locally licensed dentists. If the patient allows, interns will have the opportunity to shadow the consultation and listen as the dentist meets with the patient, does an oral exam, completes the procedures, prescribes treatment (if necessary), and gives general advice; interns will have the opportunity to assist the dentist during the procedure by procuring and passing instruments, among other tasks. This station really provides interns who are engaged and interested with an incredible opportunity to learn healthcare in a global context.
Sterilization and Tray Preparation
Interns will apply cold and hot sterilization techniques for the instruments utilized in consultation. Interns will learn about different instruments, their names, and their usages; they will apply this knowledge to prepare the instrument trays for consultation for an array of procedures. Interns must have passed through the VAW Global Biosafety Protocol Training and Exam prior to participating in this station.
Professional Development Activity
On the two week trip, interns may have the opportunity to participate in an impressions and tooth waxing workshop, which provides an opportunity to learn about the morphology of teeth and develop hand skills.
Based on each school’s needs, our teams work with community teachers to develop different health promotion projects throughout the year in collaboration with local partners.
VAW Global Dental Outreach offers two trip lengths: two weeks (15 days) or one week (7 days). On the two week trip, there will be six clinic days; on the one week trip, there will be three clinic days. Each country varies slightly in how the schedule is arranged and what opportunities are available.
All interns are responsible for covering their program fees, medication and supply fund fee, plane tickets, spending money, and any additional expenses.
VAW Global Health Alliances constantly strives to provide the best quality patient care for our communities and the best professional development opportunities for our interns. We follow the guidelines outlined by leading organizations, such as the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Please feel free to read through the guidelines ADEA has established for pre-dental students here or visit their website directly here.