Program will keep students at forefront of technology

May 15, 2006
The Product Evaluation and Research Laboratory program will allow students at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine to evaluate products on the market.

Students entering the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine next semester will have the chance to sign up for a program that, as dentists, will help them stay at the forefront of ever-changing technology.

The Product Evaluation and Research Laboratory program � developed by second-year student Jason Tubo, with assistance from David Sherberg and Kristina Lake � will allow students at the School of Dental Medicine to evaluate, research, and have hands on training with products already on the market but not yet in the dental school.

PERL, a component of the Center for Research and Education in Technology Evaluation will collaborate with CRETE's Industry Advisory Council, a consortium of leaders from the manufacturing, distribution and laboratory sectors of the dental industry.

With guidance from School of Dental Medicine faculty and industry representatives, innovative products and equipment will be loaned to the students for their evaluation.

When asked about the need for PERL, Dr. Edward F. Rossomando, CRETE's director, said that "studies have shown that dentists prefer to use equipment and products they learned to use during their clinical experience in dental school.

"By incorporating new technologies into the dental curriculum, the program will enhance familiarity with products and equipment technologies not included in their traditional clinical experience and hopefully encourage incorporation into their practice."

This means that when these students become dentists, they will be skilled in technologies and procedures that are beneficial for their patients. Service, and helping patients by having qualified, experienced dentists, is one of the major goals and benefits of the PERL program.

"The technological change in dentistry reflects what is occurring in other health care fields," said Jason Tubo and member of the class of 2008. "The pace of change often exceeds the ability of schools to keep up," he added. "I think the PERL program will precisely meets that challenge by inviting manufacturers and industry to participate."

The students get to evaluate and practice with the innovations, and industry gets trial and error feedback from dental students. Tubo and Sherberg attended CRETE's IAC meeting in Boston in January seeking the endorsement of that group.

Following their presentation, the IAC agreed unanimously to endorse the PERL program and voted to send a letter to Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs Dr. Steven Lepowsky, stating that "we are committed to facilitating its (PERL) implementation through the contribution of products personnel and resources to ensure the success of the program."

The PERL program is a very innovative program and there is no other like it in the US," said Carl Bretko, chairman of the IAC and senior vice president of JEP Management, Inc. "We are looking forward to meeting with Dr. Lepowsky and other from the School of Dental Medicine administration to work out all the details."

Tubo hopes to have the PERL program operational by September.