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The Ohio State University College of Dentistry  

  1. Dr. Abdel Rahim Mohammad

  2. Shown left to right, Dr. Mohammad with Drs. Charlene Enhui and Andrew Aw at Singapore's Warga Tua Geriatric Medicine Clinic

Dr. Mohammad at a nursing home facility in Singapore

Going International: Dentistry’s Geriatric Training Program is a Model Worldwide

Dr. Abdel Rahim Mohammad, a professor of Geriatric Dentistry and Oral Medicine, and Director of Geriatric and Community Outreach Programs, is going international as he takes the College of Dentistry’s programs around the world where they serve as models for teaching and training in the field of geriatric dentistry.

Having dedicated much of his professional life to providing oral health care for the elderly, Dr. Mohammad is an expert on the treatment of geriatric dentistry patients, and he has a wealth of knowledge about the impact of an elderly population that is increasing worldwide.

“Geriatric populations make up about 10 percent of the world’s total population now, and that number is continuing to grow,” Mohammad says. “This statistic matters because many elderly patients don’t have sufficient access to dental care. They’re challenged by financial problems, lack of transportation, and a shortage of trained geriatric dentists. So the potential exists for an underserved elderly population worldwide, and that’s why we’re responding to requests from other universities in the U.S. and internationally where there’s a need for geriatric dental programs.”

Having received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) degree from Cairo University in Egypt, Dr. Mohammad has maintained international academic affiliations that have positioned him to help in developing geriatric dentistry programs at centers of learning in numerous other countries, most recently in Poland, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and Egypt.

In 2008, Dr. Mohammad served as a curriculum evaluator and an advisor on accreditation for the Suez Canal University (SCU) in Egypt. Working with that university’s dentistry faculty members who selected Ohio State as a benchmark institution, he evaluated the existing D.D.S. program with the goal of developing new teaching and training concepts -- based on Ohio State’s College of Dentistry programs -- that would enable SCU to achieve international accreditation.

Following his work in Egypt, he presented a lecture at the 2009 Federation Dentaire Internationale (FDI) Annual World Dental Congress in Singapore. As an authority on elderly patients’ dental needs, his lecture focused on oral health care for ambulatory and institutionalized geriatric patients. Following that presentation, he began a new initiative with Singapore’s Ministry of Health and the National University of Singapore aimed at developing a geriatric dentistry program for teaching and clinical training.

Another dental education opportunity arose this year at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), where Dr. Mohammad worked with Dr. Eric Torres, an assistant professor and director of dental clinics, to create a model for pre-doctoral and graduate training programs in geriatric dentistry. Their collaboration also produced an “exchange of knowledge initiative” that will bring three dental faculty members from the University of Puerto Rico to Ohio State’s College of Dentistry to observe current geriatric dentistry treatments.

According to Dr. Mohammad, as the worldwide population ages, the need for dentistry programs for the elderly will expand, but the ability to meet those needs will continue to be a challenge, especially for developing nations. “Geriatric patients have complex health issues. So it’s especially important to maintain their oral health and to treat problems as soon as they arise, knowing that other age-related complications will inevitably be present,” Mohammad says. “Many developing countries have good universities that produce good doctors and nurses, but they often don’t have dental education and outreach programs that serve the elderly.”

The Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland, is an example of a well-respected university that is working to build a more sophisticated geriatric dental education program. Serving as an advisor for Poznan’s Centre for Medical Education, Dr. Mohammad’s tasks include providing contemporary geriatric dental courses to augment existing classes at Poznan University, as well as developing an international exchange program between Ohio State’s and Poznan’s dental schools.

As a lifelong educator, clinician, and geriatric health advocate, Dr. Mohammad has written more than 100 scholarly publications on clinical dentistry, and he is the author of a foundational textbook, “Geriatric Dentistry,” which is now in its 6th edition. An authority on geriatric dental treatment and the concomitant health care needs of elderly patients, Dr. Mohammad is a frequent guest lecturer at national and international conferences on geriatric and community-based dentistry.

                                                                                                                                    [November 2010]