Global Health Nexus, Summer 2003

Learning More Than Dentistry as an Advanced Study Student

When I graduated from La Sapienza University Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in Rome in 1999, it seemed that there was little that my father, who had practiced dentistry for 40 years, could learn from a young dentist like me. But this summer, I am returning to take over my father’s Rome practice as an implant specialist, with knowledge and experience gained from completing NYU Dentistry’s Advanced Study Program for International Dentists in Implant Dentistry.

I performed some 80 operations during the two-year program, including a dozen complex sinus lifts. I became confident enough in my knowledge of implant technology to be able to present a literature review and case study on short implants at Italy’s leading dental education congress, the Tenth Annual Congresso Nacionale Del “Collegio Dei Docenti Di Odontoiatria,” held at La Sapienza University in April 2003. My presentation was part of NYU Dentistry’s first-ever symposium at the Congress, which was organized by Mr. John Nissen, the College’s recruiter in Italy, and Ms. Dolores Spinelli, Director of International Programs, and which featured presentations by Dr. Paul Rosenberg, Director of the Advanced Education Program in Endodontics, Dr. Samuel Waknine, President of DRM Laboratories in Connecticut and a graduate of NYU Dentistry’s M.S. Program in Biomaterials, and three Italian graduates of NYU Dentistry’s Advanced Study Program in Implant Dentistry: Dr. Emiliano Zanaboni, ’01; Dr. Roberto Luongo,’02; and Dr. Sergio Buda, ’97.

During my time at NYU Dentistry I also participated in relief efforts at Ground Zero on September 11 and in the days following the terrorist attack. We put drops in the eyes of rescue workers and helped them suture wounds. But there were very few survivors to aid. That experience taught me a lesson about the precariousness of life that has strengthened my desire to put my stamp on the future of dentistry.

Once back in Italy, I expect to play an active role in future implant research by forming a clinical research group with other NYU Dentistry implant program graduates who are moving back to Europe. I believe the bonds we forged at NYU Dentistry will help us to facilitate the development and implementation of clinical research projects across borders, allowing us to make the world a smaller, more cohesive, healthier place.

Meanwhile, my father has acknowledged the advances I made at NYU Dentistry. When I returned to Italy for a recent family visit, he asked me to perform several implant procedures in his office. As a testament to his faith in me, he offered to be my first patient.