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A First for U-M Dental Educator

Dr. Kyriaki Marti in 1st Class of New Program

“This new program here at Michigan is a milestone in my professional education and growth.  It will help me to become an even better teacher,” says Dr. Kyriaki “Kiki” Marti, an adjunct clinical assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry at the U-M School of Dentistry

Marti has the distinction of being the first dentist and in the first group of six health care professionals in the new Master of Health Professions Education (MHPE) program.

Begun last fall, the three-year interdisciplinary program was established by the U-M Medical School’s Department of Learning Health Sciences.  MHPE offers practicing educational professionals in dentistry, medicine, nursing, public health, pharmacy and social work new opportunities to enhance their educational leadership and effectiveness in the health care professions. 

In addition to improving the quality of clinical training in each profession and ultimately, enhancing the health care patients receive, another objective is to develop health care educators to become leaders in their respective profession.

Self-Directed Learning

Unlike traditional education programs with classes, exams, and a teacher talking to a group of students in a classroom, MHPE is entirely self-directed.  The customized program for a small group of students is designed around each participant’s competencies in 12 different areas.  In dentistry, MHPE competencies include educational methods and curriculum development, assessment and evaluation, and educational scholarship and research. 

“Self-motivation is the key to success in this program,” Marti says.  “Each of us works closely with a mentor, but it’s up to each of us individually to complete our customized learning program that we developed with our mentor.”

Marti meets with her mentor, Mrs. Martha Funnell, about every 10 days, to assess Marti’s progress toward meeting their mutually agreed upon goals.  Funnell is an associate research scientist in medical education with the U-M Medical School and an adjunct associate research scientist at the School of Nursing.

“I want to become an even better teacher,” Marti says.  “After one year in this program, I feel I am making progress in reaching that goal.”  She says that some of what she have learned is already being applied in three classes she teaches at the School of Dentistry.

Applying Lessons Learned

Marti says she has developed new ways to teach local anesthesia where dental students use a mannequin to administer injections.  Another course, focusing on medical emergencies, has led to second-year dental students and second-year dental hygiene students being engaged in active learning simulations where they role play as a patient and an oral health care provider.  A third course, involving oral surgery simulation in the preclinic, is part of an existing clinical rotation course.

Marti says she wanted to become a dentist when she was growing up in Greece.  “I was inspired by listening to stories my father, Dr. Christos Martis, told me,” she says.  “He chaired the Department of Oral Surgery at the University of Thessaloniki and the University of Athens.  I think he taught every student who became a dentist in the country,” Marti says with a smile.  “From an early age, he and my mother stressed that a good education was important to advance personally and professionally.  The Master of Health Professions Education here at Michigan is one of the ways I can do that and also help dental and dental hygiene students to become better oral health care providers.”

For more information about the MHPE program, visit: