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  March 26, 2001

Dental School Ranks No. 1
in Nation on Test Scores

The UConn School of Dental Medicine is ranked the Number 1 dental school in the country. The ranking for 2001, is based on students' test scores on Part II of the National Board Dental Examinations.

"The rank of '1' is assigned to the school with the highest average standard score," Gene A. Kramer, manager of research and development for the American Dental Association, wrote to Peter J. Robinson, dean of the School of Dental Medicine.

"This is phenomenal," said Robinson. "The students in the Class of 2001 ranked first on the national board Part II. They ranked second on Part I. Coupled with their incredible success in the residency placement match, there's no doubt in my mind they are the top graduating dental school class this year, and we are the top dental school."

The national boards are administered by the American Dental Association and used by the states to determine qualifications of dentists who seek to practice dentistry. The test results are valid nationwide and are an accepted assessment of the ability of practitioners to recall important basic biomedical and dental sciences information, and to apply that information in a problem-solvin g context.

UConn dental school students have for more than a decade consistently placed in the top 10 for national board results. More recently, they have been scoring consistently in the top five. This year is the first time the students achieved a No. 1 ranking.

The dental program at the Health Center is recognized by dentists and dental school faculty as one of the country's very best. Thirty-four percent of dental graduates on a national basis enter advanced dentistry programs upon graduation. At the UConn dental school, between 75 and 80 percent of students usually go on to advanced academic programs. This year, 92 percent will take advanced dental education.

On a national basis, 54 percent of dental school graduates enter private practice; at UConn, three of 37 - less than 10 percent of the graduating class - will go immediately into practice. The remainder will concentrate on a dental specialty or hone their skills further in an advanced general dentistry program.

UConn dental graduates are prized in dental resident circles: Class of 2001 graduates will enter residency programs at the very best teaching institutions: Massachusetts General; the Mayo Clinic; Pittsburgh Medical Center; the University of California at San Francisco; Vanderbilt University; and the University of Washington, among others.

School of Dental Medicine graduates also do extremely well in the most competitive postgraduate specialty programs, such as oral surgery or orthodontics. All nine students interested in oral surgery specialties were accepted into programs.

The school's reputation is such that top students from other schools are coming to Farmington for advanced programs: the oral surgery program will include graduates from Harvard and UCLA, and other dental specialties - such as orthodontics, periodontics , endodontics, prosthetics, pediatric dentistry and advanced general dentistry - all received their top picks of residents.

Robinson said having the country's top ranked school was a pleasure, but added that the school has been accomplishing its mission in the state for more than a generation.

"We replenish the Connecticut profession with skilled, state-of-the-art practitioners," Robinson said. "More than 50 percent of our graduates stay in Connecticut to practice, making UConn the greatest supplier of new dentists for the state."

Part II of the national boards are usually taken during the last year of dental school. The test consists of a comprehensive, one-and-a-half day examination covering clinical dental sciences, such as operative dentistry, pharmacology, endodontics, periodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pain control, prosthodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral diagnosis, and patient management. About one-fifth of the examination includes test items based on patient cases.

Pat Keefe