The overarching goal of the Pathways Program is to provide a space within the curriculum to ignite passion, foster purpose and sustain individual professional identity formation.

Pathways Day 2024!

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Flexibility is the foundation of Pathways. Students can select from two pathways:

The Selectives Pathway

The Selectives Pathway provides a breadth of experiences through participation in elective courses from the D2 to the D4 year, allowing students to enrich their DDS curriculum based on their own individual experiences and showcase these interests.

Electives available to students in the Selectives Pathway:

  • Beyond the Goodie Bag
  • CBCT Interpretation
  • Clinical Intro to TMD & Orofacial Pain
  • D3 Orthodontics - D3 Elective
  • D4 Oral Surgery Elective
  • Dental Pulp & Pulp Responses
  • Digital Planning and 3D Printing in Dentistry
  • Emerging Educators: Educational Theoryy
  • Emerging Educators: Lecture/Seminar Teaching
  • Emerging Educators: Preclinical/Clinical Teaching
  • Focused Discussions in Leadership
  • Global Initiatives in Oral & Craniofacial Health
  • Hospital Dentistry - D4 Elective
  • Innovations in Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment of Oral/Head/Neck Cancers
  • Integrative Dentistry
  • Interprofessional Team-Based Care*
  • Introduction to Preclinical Teaching*
  • Jumping into Local Dental Societies
  • On Campus Mini-Rotations
  • Orthodontics - D4 Elective
  • Precision Health
  • Presentation Skills
  • Special Projects in CBCE - D3 and D4 Elective
  • Supplemental Professional Learning
  • Survey Design
  • TMD, Sleep Bruxism and Occlusion
  • Volunteer CBCE (Outreach) Rotations

The Immersion Pathway

The Immersion Pathway provides an in-depth focus on a chosen topic by the student and completion of a capstone project, where there is an expectation of dissemination of the results through scholarship that will inform the profession.

Current projects in the Immersion Pathway:

  • Molecular markers involved in OSCC that may be predictive of dysplasia progression to squamous cell carcinoma
  • Utilization of Three Dimensional Printing for the Advancement of Pre-clinical and Clinical Educationin Dental School Settings
  • Victors for Veterans
  • Accuracy of a virtual reality method of determining the Goslon score of unilateral cleft lip and plate patients.
  • COVID-19’s impacton children from low-income homes
  • Defining Special Healthcare Needs in Michigan Dentistry Outreach Clinics
  • Dental emergencies seen in hospital emergency rooms
  • Dentistry, Social Work & Social Determinants of Health: A Collaborative Care Approach in a dental setting
  • Effect of high-fructose corn syrup on biofilm cariogenicity and dental caries
  • Enhancing fluoride retention in dental biofilm
  • General dentists’ approach to taking a social history: A national survey.
  • Holistic Health Status and Caries Risk
  • How does smoking affect family members' likelihood to smoke and their oral health
  • Investigation of Nitric Oxide Releasing Nanospheres for Control of Orthodontic Tooth Movement in a Rodent Model.
  • Masticatory kinematics and chewing rate in the house mouse
  • New Model for CEUs to Incentivize and Increase Quality of Care
  • Oral Care Education and Intervention for the Critically Ill Hospitalized Patients
  • Regenerative biomaterials and medicine specifically in the field of periodontics
  • Relationship of caries risk factors to sharing of utensils between primary caregiver and child
  • Role of Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) in development, progression and treatment resistance of the salivary gland cancer, Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC)
  • The Interactive Caries Progression Model
  • Undergraduate college students, dental hygiene students' and dental students' attitudes towards group work: Who wants to work with whom and how, when and where?
  • Assignment of Scoring, Analysis, and Application of the McGill Pain Questionnaire
  • Oral Health Promotion Program for Elementary Schools in Meru County, Kenya
  • Creation and Implementation of a Dental Pocketbook for Healthcare Professionals
  • Analysis of Glove-Induced Contact Dermatitis and Its Manifestation in the Healthcare Setting
  • Investigation of the Preparedness of Predoctoral Students in Special Care Dentistry
  • How can we create and/or improve the dental homes of patients with special needs through changes in dental school education and acceptability by dentists and dental students?
  • Painless Dentistry
  • Dental Career Longevity
  • Relative BPA dissolution from dental materials and plastic containersin saliva and perceived awareness of adverse health effects
  • Can mechanic forces cause abfraction? An in vitro mechanical engineering study.
  • Relationship Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sleep Bruxism and Cardiovascular disease
  • Comparison of Student Learning of Head and Neck Anatomy Using Cone Beam Computed Tomography Multiplanar Views and Virtual Reality Methods
  • Effects of hormones on female head and neck cancer
  • Analyses of the Relationship between Dietary Risk Factors and other Caries Risk Factors in Different Socioeconomic Groups
  • Relationship Between Mode of Birth and Prematurity and Caries Risk Factors
  • Dentists' stress and coping in times of COVID-19: How could dental school and dental graduate education programs prepare their graduates for this situation?
  • Academic and Clinical Achievement of Current and Former Dental Post Baccalaureate Students: A National Survey
  • Dental Students’ Educational Experiences, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavioral Intentions Concerning Treating Patients Who Experience Intimate Partner Violence: A survey
  • Dental Providers’ Considerations Concerning Therapy Dogs in Dental Offices
  • Developing an educational intervention to educate dental and dental hygiene students and dentists and dental hygienists about providing optimal care for patients from LGBTQ+ backgrounds.
  • Dental Education about Digitally Guided Implant Surgery in Periodontics Residency Programs in the U.S., Canada and Europe: Assessing the Status Quo
  • Stress in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency and it’s Consequences: A National Survey
  • Dental Student Mentor Program (DSMP)
  • Analysis of Opioid Prescribing Rates at The University of Michigan School of Dentistry
  • Relationship between OHQoL and the Treatment Provided for Patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Involving the TMJ
  • Determining Dentists’ Perspective on Providing Dental Care to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community in the United States
  • So, what can you do with your D.D.S.?Exploring Dental Career Options
  • Preclinical Education of CEREC CAD/CAM Systems
  • Increasing diversity among dental school applicants, students and graduates to broaden perspectives in dentistry
  • Effect of Extractions and Straumann Dental Implants on Inflammatory Markers in Patients with Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes
  • A Review on DNA Methylation and the role of DNA Methyltransferase 1 in Wound Healing
  • Developmental Control of Oral Rhythmicity: Chewing and Suckling Rates in Puppies During Weaning
  • Head and Neck Cancer Treatment: How Does Oral Health Related Quality of Life Change Following Treatment?
  • Effect of graduation levels of ROS on cancer and wound healing
  • Dental students’ diet-related behavior and attitudes towards diet-related patient education
  • Chewing Rate Determinants in Mammals
  • Improving Local Anesthesia Education Through a Pre-Clinical Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block Simulation Training Model
  • The regulation of skeletal and craniofacial bone homeostasis by mTORC1 signaling
  • Enhancing the anticaries effect of fluoride using a calcium pre-application
  • Analysis of Mandibular Bone Structure in BMP Mutant Mice
  • Commitment to Increasing the Diversity of the Dental Work Force – Dental Students’ and Dentists’ Considerations
  • Michigan Dentists’ Attitudes and Perceptions Concerning the Dental Therapist Workforce Model
  • Helping Improve the Oral Health of Children at the Bay Cliff Health Summer Camp
  • Functionalized Janus Particles for Managing Dry Mouth Symptoms
  • Detecting and Screening for Oral Sleep Apnea in Pre-Doctoral Student Clinics
  • Validity, reliability and usability of a virtual reality assessment tool for a pre-doctoral tooth identification exam
  • Predoctoral dental students’ experiences and attitudes towards Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: a national survey
  • Improving the Treatment notes and health history (multiple languages) in MiDEnt
  • Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Silver Diamine Fluoride vs Conventional Restorations in High Caries Risk Children

The Pathways Program is based on autonomy. Students direct their own learning through this multiyear program that begins in their D-1 year and culminates in a celebratory Pathways Day in their D-4 year.


Past Pathways Days

Watch the Welcome Addresses from the Dean and Pathways Directors. Also, view all of the exciting projects completed by Immersion Students of the Class of 2022, as well as our recognition to all who have contributed to student success in the Pathways Program.



Pathways Program and Immersion Director
Associate Professor of Dentistry, Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences, and Endodontics
734-763-4258 | [email protected]
Selective Pathway Director
Clinical Associate Professor of Dentistry
734-647-2418 | [email protected]
Pathways Administration
Academic Program Specialist
734-763-1785 | [email protected]
Pathways Administration
Academic Program Specialist
734-647-6248 | [email protected]