Dental school strikes agreement to help Egyptian university improve its curriculum

CWRU representatives meet with representatives from Future University in Egypt
David Fleshler, vice provost of international affairs (second from left), and School of Dental Medicine Dean Kenneth Chance (right) meet with representatives from Future University in Cairo.

A delegation from Case Western Reserve University, led by School of Dental Medicine Dean Kenneth Chance, signed an agreement March 8 in Cairo with Future University to help provide a new model for dental education collaboration.

For five years, dental school faculty members will visit Future University periodically to update the dental school’s curriculum.

“By evaluating a program that is trying to raise the bar among its peer institutions, we hope to raise the standard of patient care,” Chance said. “Future University wants to implement some of the processes and curriculum that we have—what a testament to the expertise of our faculty.

“The Middle East was a strategic choice,” said Chance, who became dean in 2014. “This helps build our international reputation and increases our exposure abroad. This will also improve the education we offer our students, as our faculty can become more familiar with how dentistry is practiced in different countries.”

Chance is accompanied on the trip by David Fleshler, Case Western Reserve’s vice provost for international affairs, and Nabil Bissada, professor at the dental school and chair of the Department of Periodontics.

“This is extraordinarily unique. To my knowledge, we’re the only American dental school doing this in the region,” Chance said. “Global partnerships will be particularly meaningful to our school—especially as we move toward interprofessional education at the new Health Education Campus.”

Native son

Bissada was instrumental in bringing the two universities together to forge the collaboration, which was more than a year in the making.

A native of Egypt, who graduated from Cairo University prior to his emigration to the United States in 1967, Bissada has frequently lectured and consulted in his home country for the past four decades, cultivating professional and personal relationships along the way.

“[Future University] asked me a straightforward question: ‘Can we collaborate with Case Western Reserve University?’” Bissada said. “They consider us one of the best dental schools in the United States.”