The Superior Institute of Dental Education and Assistance (Superior IDEA) is a non-profit dental assisting program that aims to provide affordable, high-quality dental assistant training for primarily economically disadvantaged members of Chicago's minority communities. Today, Superior IDEA announced that it will be accepting applications and recommendations from community organizations for student candidates to participate in its pilot program scheduled for Spring 2003.
"The primary focus of Superior IDEA is to provide educational and career opportunities within the dental field for people in Chicago who may not otherwise have them," said Dr. Luciana Burca, executive director of Superior IDEA and practicing Chicago-area dentist. "This program gives its students hands-on job training in the growing field of dentistry."
The Superior IDEA program runs in three-month cycles and will initially include six students, with a target enrollment of 48 by 2004. Classes will be held on Saturdays, so students can maintain their weekday jobs. Upon completion of the 12-week program, students must participate in a 60-hour internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. Superior IDEA offers its graduates job placement assistance, although permanent placement is not guaranteed.
Anyone can apply for Superior IDEA, however the target student population is primarily recruited from low socio-economic areas focusing initially on the Latino communities of Pilsen, Back of the Yards and Humbolt Park. Tuitions for students with a demonstrated economic need will be sponsored through donations made to Superior IDEA. Applications from dental professionals wishing to further their chair-side training will also be accepted.
As a non-profit organization, Superior IDEA relies heavily on support from external organizations and private donors through tax-deductible donations. All donations received will fund general operations and the sponsorship of student tuition. Superior IDEA is partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, 1-800-DENTIST®, the Hispanic Dental Association, Welfare-to-Work, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Community Health Partnership, and Sullivan Schein.
For more information or details on how to make a tax-deductible donation to Superior IDEA, call (312) 701-0100, e-mail: [email protected] or visit www.superiorIDEA.org.