PACS—What is It?

Professionalism and Community Service (PACS) Program

Service learning and cultural competency are rapidly emerging and developing concepts in dental and dental hygiene education. Important outcomes from these experiences include student recognition of their responsibility to provide care to people in need, social awareness and professional responsibility.

Community service beyond the campus dental clinic starts early for dental students; their desire to serve is often inspired by the PACS (Professionalism and Community Service) program, a curriculum component in all four years of dental education that combines classroom learning with community-based outreach initiatives to promote oral health and care, meet community needs and goals, and develop mutually beneficial, sustainable partnerships.

Each academic year, all students, in groups of five to eight, provide supervised community service with the help of a tutor in an average of six locations in the following service areas:

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    First year: students plan, develop, implement and evaluate oral health education projects at different sites, mainly in low income neighbourhoods.

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    Second year: students focus on geriatric patients in long-term-care facilities.
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    Third year: students provide hands-on service in inner-city schools, such as oral hygiene instruction, fluoride treatment applications and making sports mouthguards for schoolchildren.
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    Fourth year: students care for special-needs patients, from psychiatric hospital residents to children with disabilities receiving rehabilitation.

Core faculty members of the PACS program are:

Read an article about the Professionalism and Community Service (PACS) Program

Ahead of the Wave in Community engagement—Preparing a New Generation of Dentists