Cynthia L. Wong, DMD
Chair & Program Director
Our program's mission is to use innovative teaching and learning to create empathetic and critically-thinking pediatric dentists, who embrace change and become advocates for the “whole child” in the communities they serve. We aim to holistically prepare our residents for their next stage of practice, regardless of focus and setting.
Our residents, faculty, and social workers work closely together to deliver and advocate for the best possible oral health care for children in our community. Rochester, the third largest city in New York State, is located in western New York. As our program draws patients from across the state and even Pennsylvania, we serve a very diverse population. Patients may be local or they may have to drive anywhere from 2-3 hours each way to receive care. Working closely with our center’s social workers, our residents learn to provide inclusive and comprehensive care for our patients taking into consideration each child’s individualized needs.
We also value the power of interdisciplinary care and aim to have our residents see themselves as an equal and active part of the child’s healthcare team. Our residents have extensive hospital-based experiences ranging from the operating room, emergency department, inpatient floors, craniofacial team, and hemophilia team. Our residents learn how to integrate oral health care with overall health, continuously communicating with other health professionals.
Our program is truly a combined pediatric dentistry residency program in that there is a strong didactic component which supports extensive chairside experiences in various clinical settings. Clinical experiences range from comprehensive care in our pediatric dentistry clinic, to elimination of barriers through our community dentistry sites and teledentistry, to complete oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia and oral conscious sedation, to inclusive care for children with special health care needs. We believe that understanding the needs of the whole, developing child is what sets pediatric dentists apart and for this reason we have a strong focus on developing behavior guidance skills that allow our residents to meet the needs of every child. These clinical experiences are supplemented by purposeful and scaffolded didactic experiences designed to fully synthesize didactic knowledge and critical thinking skills with clinical experiences.
Our program operates under the following assumption:
We are all "intelligent, capable, care about doing [our] best and want to improve." (Eppich et al 2013)