Higher Education Matters: SIUE dental school adds international program

Scott Wuerz
Scott Wuerz

The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine has welcomed the first class of its new international outreach program.

The inaugural class of six students began the 27-month International Advanced Placement Program on the Alton campus in February.

“This program was designed to align with the SDM’s philosophy and mission of exceptional patient care and the education of excellent general dentists for the area,” said Daniel Ketteman, director of the International Advanced Placement Program. “It will expand the patient care at the SDM by having experienced practitioners of the dental healing arts caring for more complex cases than our traditional students.”

The program enables qualified dentists who have graduated from an acknowledged international dental school to pursue a doctor of dental medicine degree at the School of Dental Medicine. Program graduates will be able to obtain a license to practice dentistry in the United States.

Students in the IAPP will first complete a three-month Clinical Certification Course. They will then merge with the SDM’s junior class to complete the final two years of the DMD curriculum. According to Ketteman, two-thirds of the inaugural class were previously dental specialists in their home countries.

Dileep Varghese, a 38-year-old native of India, is a member of the inaugural class. Varghese has practiced dentistry in India and worked as a dental assistant and dental hygienist in the U.S.

“I want to extend my sincere thanks to all who have worked hard to make this program become a reality and for giving us a chance to pursue our dream of practicing dentistry in this country,” Varghese said. “I have always known that the standard of dental education in this country is consistently high, and I take it as a challenge to rise up to the occasion and keep the professional standards high.

“The most rewarding thing about my profession is the positive and constructive transformation in the lives of the patients who get the right dental care,” Varghese said. “It changes the quality of life, and turns it enjoyable and fruitful. The gratitude that I have received from my patients during my practice in my country gave me satisfaction and the drive to do more for them.”

Ketteman said the students are great additions to SIUE.

“I am amazed at the lengths these individuals have gone to in order to be with us on campus,” Ketteman said. “They are dedicated, enthusiastic and willing to confront any hurdle in order to resume practicing the profession that they are all so passionate about.”

McKendree debaters and speech team members finish strong

McKendree University’s speech and debate team took home 18 awards in two recent weekends to wrap up its regular season.

Its accolades included two team sweepstakes awards at Missouri’s state tournament.

“This team has worked hard throughout the year and our late season success is a testament to that work,” coach Joe Blasdel said. “This team has both the ability and discipline to put together some excellent performances at nationals.”

Fifteen colleges and universities, including Rice, Purdue and the University of Missouri, attended Loyola University’s national tournament warm-up Feb. 12-14.

A team composed of senior Rodney McBride and sophomore Adam Kaul and another made up of sophomores Alex Baldwin and Gage Simmons posted 5-3 records during the tournament and qualified for elimination rounds.

Sixteen colleges and universities, including Truman State and the University of Nebraska, attended Missouri’s state tournament at Webster University on Feb. 19-20.

Representing McKendree were juniors Dylan Comer, Katie Reining and Taylor Rossi; sophomores Beth Graham, Kaitlyn Hutchison, David Junge, Jazzmine Mitchell and Hannah Zickefoose; and first-years Justin Fausz, Matthew Hendricks, Adeja Powell, Aliyah Smith, Andrew Wagner and Emma Webster.

In individual events, Reining won first place in after dinner speaking, which allowed her to showcase her speech at the awards assembly. She also placed sixth in programmed oral interpretation. Comer and Webster took second place in duo, while they finished third in programmed oral interpretation and sixth in persuasion, respectively. Zickefoose placed second in poetry and fourth in programmed oral interpretation. Rossi and Wagner finished fifth in duo, while Wagner also took sixth in prose. Zickefoose placed fourth in individual sweepstakes, while McKendree placed third in individual event sweepstakes.

In open debate, the team of Fausz and Junge posted a 2-2 record, finishing as semifinalists. Powell was recognized as the second place speaker, while Junge took fourth. In novice debate, the team of Hutchison and Mitchell also went 2-2 but just missed advancing. Hutchison was named the sixth place speaker in the novice division.

McKendree will next compete at Pi Kappa Delta’s National Comprehensive Tournament, hosted March 16-20 by the University of Kentucky.

SWIC looking for senior companions

Southwestern Illinois College’s Programs and Services for Older Persons is looking for senior companions.

The Senior Companion Program pairs healthy, active people 55 and older with other seniors who otherwise would not be able to live independently.

“The companions provide supportive, individualized services to help clients maintain their dignity and independence,” said Carla Boswell, director of the Senior Companion Program at PSOP. “The goal is to keep them independent and in their own homes.”

Senior Companions provide companionship and assistance to their peers who are homebound or may be socially isolated. They visit one or more days per week for four hours per day and can assist with daily tasks, provide transportation, and give support and a much-needed break to full-time caregivers.

Companions earn a nontaxable stipend and other fringe benefits.

For more information on Senior Companion Program opportunities, contact Charla Morton in St. Clair County at 618-234-4410, ext. 7095; Deirdre Evans in the East St. Louis area at 618-874-6584; Elaine Roustio in Madison County at 618-797-7369; or Deena Duvall in Monroe or Randolph counties at 618-282-6682, ext. 8135.