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Last January 29, 2024, a town hall meeting was held at the UP College of Dentistry Auditorium to hear out and provide solutions to the pressing concerns of the college’s increasing number of non-regular/resident clinicians. Present during the said meeting was the Dean of the College of Dentistry, Dr. Michelle S. Segarra, along with the Chairperson of the Department of Clinical Dental Health Sciences, Dr. Melanie Ruth Karganilla, the Clinical Section Heads, Clinical Discipline Heads, and several clinical faculty members.  Most of the clinicians, as well as some concerned parents and guardians were also in attendance.  

Prior to the request for the town hall meeting, Dean Michelle Segarra met with all the heads of the different clinical courses before the town hall meeting to discuss measures to help the non-regular clinicians graduate as soon as possible and solve the problem of the overflowing number of clinicians caused by the pandemic and suspension of face-to-face classes. Some of the meetings were conducted during the weekend even before the request for the town hall meeting was made known. 

The following were the issues raised and addressed in the town hall meeting:

1. Starting point of the clinical rotation for the non-regular clinicians

Non-regular clinicians requested that they be allowed to choose which among the three clinical sections they would begin their five-weeks of clinical rotation.  The faculty present during the said town hall acceded to the said request, provided that the non-regular clinicians ensure an equitable division of dental chair assignments among them.

2. Regular clinicians would have priority over the dental chairs. However, their lecture classes will only allow them clinical chair time on Mondays, Tuesday afternoons, Thursday afternoons and Fridays (with some regular clinicians having community and hospital dentistry rotations), leaving enough dental chair time for the non-regular clinicians. 

3. Adjustments in the Clinical Requirements 

Different Clinical Discipline Heads announced significant modifications that will be implemented to augment the college’s efforts in achieving higher graduation rates. Adjustments in the number of requirements of Clinical Periodontology were announced, as well as the revamping of the criteria for exemption from Clinical Prosthodontics Complete Denture Practical Examination.  

Effective this semester, clinicians will also be allowed to present their potential root canal treatment patients for pre-evaluation of their Endodontics case requirement. This is to help clinicians in their case selection and reduce the number of patient appointments. 

On top of these major changes in the clinical requirements, the Orthodontics Post-Graduate Clinics will also be temporarily moved to the Center for Oral Health (4th floor Clinics) to accommodate more undergraduate students at the 3rd floor Clinics. Doing so will add at least 14 more dental chairs for their utilization.

These mentioned changes and reconsiderations were very much appreciated by the clinicians. Their parents, after hearing these adjustments, were pleased, and acknowledged the unceasing efforts that the College has been doing for its students. As one parent commented:

“ Akala ko kanina walang masosolusyunan, ngayon Nakita ko dapat pala inilatag nyo na. Ito na pala. So, marami pong salamat Nakita nyo na pala… I’m hoping for your guidance, kayo po saludo po ako. Matagal na po akong hindi sumasaludo, ngayon sasaluduhan ko po kayo. Maraming salamat po.”

All parties involved were assured that everyone was aiming and striving hard towards a common goal that is --- for the clinicians to finish their requirements, graduate timely from the university, and ultimately, to be of service to the Philippine society.