USC partners with Trinity College Dublin to launch hybrid online/on-campus certificate program in orofacial pain


John Hobbs MA '14


29 Sep 20

The collaboration, between the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC and Dublin Dental University Hospital/School of Dental Science, aims to improve quality of orofacial pain care in Ireland and beyond.

OSTROW’S DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM has joined forces with Trinity College Dublin Dental University Hospital/School of Dental Science to launch a hybrid online/on-campus certificate program in orofacial pain.

“Trinity College is the top college in Ireland, and it is a highly respected educational institution that is listed among the top 100 universities in the world,” said Glenn Clark, Ostrow’s assistant dean for distance education and director of the school’s orofacial pain program. “We are pleased that the Dublin Dental University Hospital/School of Science is a friend and a partner.”

The one-year postgraduate certificate program, set to begin in January 2021, would include a mix of hands-on training at Trinity College with online didactic instruction — including weekly live webinar sessions with faculty and other residents, video lectures and quizzes — provided by Ostrow.

“Professor Clark and his team have developed an educational content and format, which is the envy of many other universities and dental schools,” explained Dermot Canavan, an orofacial pain expert, who will serve as a lead instructor in the certificate program.

Associate Professor of Dental Science Michael O’Sullivan added, “Professor Clark is a world authority in the area of orofacial pain, having made exceptional contributions to the discipline. His commitment and dedication, coupled with an innovative educational approach, makes him and his team a great fit for this collaboration.”

Once residents complete the one-year certificate program, they have the opportunity to join USC’s three-year online master’s degree program in orofacial pain and oral medicine, during its second year. The certificate is equal to one years’ study in the master’s program.

Setting the standard for online dental education


As with Ostrow’s other distance learning programs, hybrid online/on-campus programs allow practicing dentists to further their education and open new professional doors without having to leave the workforce.

“Our ideal student is one who knows what they want,” Clark said. “They may be early, middle or even later career dentists who are seeking a change and are usually very inspired to pursue training in the orofacial pain discipline.”

Orofacial pain practitioners treat more than 300 mouth and face diseases, including temporomandibular dysfunction, sleep apnea and orofacial pain.

The program will help raise the profile of orofacial pain in a new area of the world, which could improve outcomes for dental patients in the European Union.

“There is a very small number of practitioners in the area of orofacial pain — both in Ireland and Europe,” O’Sullivan said. “The outcome of increased educational opportunities will be greater availability of care for patients and an increased range of skills within the dental community.”

Beyond that, the program gives USC an opportunity to continue to expand the availability of its online education roster, which includes master’s degrees and certificate programs — in orofacial pain and oral medicine, pain medicine (collaborating with Keck School of Medicine of USC), geriatric dentistry and in community oral health. There is also a certificate program in oral pathology and radiology.

“Our goal at USC,” Clark said, “is to bring this approach to postgraduate education to new audiences and maybe have a hand in setting the standards for how online education in dentistry should be done.”

Learn more about the hybrid online/on-campus program.

Recent news