This study aims to (1) describe the Predoctoral Implant Club at UIC (PIC-UIC) mentoring model while providing a rationale for the program and (2) investigate PIC members’ perception about the club and prosthodontics in general via a questionnaire and focus group discussion.Materials and Methods:
A survey to investigate PIC members’ perception regarding the club was distributed at a meeting. The survey consisted of questions about the members’ prior exposure to prosthodontics, faculty, and residents; current exposure to and perceptions of prosthodontics; future outcomes from membership; and possible improvements to PIC-UIC. Four student members of PIC-UIC participated in a focus group discussion about their exposure to prosthodontics during each year of their training, their exposure to prosthodontics following PIC-UIC membership, including rotations in the advanced prosthodontic clinic, mentorships by prosthodontic faculty and residents, and attendance at the American College of Prosthodontists Annual Session.Results:
Following PIC-UIC membership, students indicated an increased exposure to prosthodontics and prosthodontic faculty. More than a third of the respondents indicated that they are “likely” to consider a prosthodontic residency after having joined PIC-UIC. Almost two-thirds of the respondents indicated that they would recommend PIC to students at other universities and believed their understanding of the prosthodontic specialty has increased. Students who participated in the focus group agreed they had little exposure to prosthodontics, prosthodontic faculty, and advanced restorative procedures in the beginning of their dental education. They felt that involvement in PIC-UIC was a valuable experience that helped them consider or reinforced their decision to pursue prosthodontics as a career.Conclusions:
PIC-UIC increased predoctoral students’ interest in prosthodontics. Involving prosthodontic faculty and residents in mentoring and educational activities was evaluated positively by students. PIC-UIC may serve as a pipeline program for predoctoral students at other dental schools.