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OMS hosts German intern

German dental studentA pair of cowboy boots and a host of memories returned to Germany with Linda Pliquett on Oct. 19 after she completed a 10-week internship in oral and maxillofacial surgery at HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry.

“If I could, I would stay,” said Pliquett, but her final year of dental school in Germany was calling. “This has been a great experience.”

She came to Dallas thanks to groundwork laid by her late uncle Uwe (Dr. Uwe Frohberg), who served on HSC-BCD’s oral and maxillofacial surgery faculty until his death in January 2008. The two had talked about the possibility of an internship in Dallas during which he would introduce her to the specialty, show her around campus and allow her to shadow him during surgery.

“My uncle was my only family member in oral surgery or dentistry,” said Pliquett. “He told me about his experience and it seemed interesting.”

The internship became a reality through the invaluable assistance of Kim Luttman, international services administrator in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. With additional help from Dr. David Grogan, chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery, and current departmental faculty including Dr. Michael Ellis, director of residency training, Pliquett was able to fulfill her dream of coming to HSC-BCD during her school’s annual three-month break. She lived in a furnished apartment within walking distance of the college.

Her experience heightened her interest in the oral surgery specialty.

“I enjoyed the internship because it’s a good environment to learn, with everybody helping everybody,” she said. “There is such a friendly atmosphere among the students, residents and professors.” She witnessed the benefit HSC-BCD students gain from a large volume of patients with diverse dental needs.

Pliquett worked closely with Dr. Marianela Gonzalez, assistant professor in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and Dr. Michael Ding, chief resident. She observed and assisted the oral surgery faculty and residents and spent leisure time with students, residents and staff including Leilane Vicente, dental assistant in the department’s professional services. “That’s a good oral surgery team downstairs,” she said.

The group hosted a going-away party for her at Gonzalez’s home, where they presented her with a pair of black boots to take home as a reminder of her time in Dallas.

“It was an honor to have Linda intern in our department,” said Grogan. “Uwe was such a respected member of our department; my only misgiving is that he was not here to discover what a talented and intelligent student his niece has become. We would welcome her back at any time.”

Pliquett says her experience has influenced her career interests and she hopes to apply for an oral and maxillofacial surgery program in the States after she graduates from dental school in November 2010. “I’ve discovered new sides of me,” she said.