• August 4, 2016
UIC College of Dentistry Dr. Sira Owibingire

During two weeks recently, the Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences (OMDS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry hosted Dr. Sira Stanislaus Owibingire, Associate Dean of the School of Dentistry at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Dr. Owibingire’s research is in oral mucosal lesions, head and neck cancers, salivary gland diseases, infection control, traumatology, temporomandibular joint disorders, and soft tissue reconstruction.

Dr. Owibingire has been involved in a partnership between his school and the UIC College of Dentistry that has brought several College of Dentistry students to MUHAS through the College’s Service Learning program that includes rotations at partner institutions. The program is under the leadership of Dr. Caswell Evans, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences, and Khatija Noorullah, Clinical Community Academic Manager.

“The first group of students from UIC came about three years ago, and we are hosting five this year,” Dr. Owibingire explained. “They see how we teach our students, and they benefit because the cases they see at our school often are unlike anything they could see at UIC.”

Dr. Owibingire noted that he is the first visitor from MUHAS “to see what you do here. I wanted to learn about the advancements here and learn more about oral medicine. I’m here for two weeks only, but I’m here with a lot of dreams!” he exclaimed.

Dr. Evans said, “Through our affiliation agreement, over the past few years we have been able to send two groups of students to MUHAS as part of their service-learning experience.

“Through the support and interest of Dr. Richard Monahan, Head of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, we were able to offer an opportunity for Dr. Owibingire to visit our College for a two-week period,” Dr. Evans explained. “His focus was on oral medicine, diagnosis and radiology, although he also spent time in oral surgery as well as at the UIC College of Medicine.”

During his visit, Dr. Owibingire gave a presentation to students and faculty that was “very well attended,” Dr. Monahan explained. “He discussed healthcare in his country within the context of the challenges and advantages of its political and social structure. We got the benefit of his perspective on cultural similarities and cultural differences between his country and ours.”

Not only were College personnel interested in what Dr. Owibingire had to say, but “there was unrestricted, uniform, and complete acceptance of him in every department of the College,” Dr. Monahan added. “Anything we asked for and tried to set up, everyone was more than happy to cooperate in a very collegial manner. Naturally, I expected this type of support, but the enthusiastic willingness to assist and contribute was greatly appreciated.”

"There was a two-way interaction that allowed us to understand some of the challenges he has and the culture in which he practices,” Dr. Monahan said.

Additionally, OMDS sponsored Dr. Owibingire’s attendance at the annual meeting of the International Association for Disability and Oral Health. The meeting, entitled Reframing Special Care: A Global Perspective, had participants from over 40 countries. The College’s Dean Clark Stanford and Dr. Robert Rada, Clinical Professor in OMDS, were among the list of internationally recognized speakers.

Dr. Owibingire thanked Dr. Monahan, Dr. Evans, Noorullah, and Susan Lloyd, Business/Administrative Associate, OMDS, for organizing his trip. 

To read a longer version of this article, go to the Word of Mouth publication at goo.gl/9M1jqD.

Photo: Dr. Sira Owibingire, fornt, with College personnel who he worked closely with. Left to right are Susan Lloyd, Business/Administrative Associate, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences; Carol Gonzalez, Dental X-Ray Coordin ator, OMDS; Dr. Richard Monahan, Head, OMDS; and Dr. Caswell Evans, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences.

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