A self-driven critical thinker who likes to examine issues from multiple perspectives, Dr. Yu Wang believes in the benefits of an interdisciplinary teaching approach. A beneficiary of absorbing the rich academic traditions from University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, Dr. Wang is well-prepared to offer her students a blended academic philosophy that combines her periodontics training from Columbia University and background in oral surgery.
“I’ve lived in different countries and taught in a variety of settings, and have learned that the most critical factor of success when engaging with different learners is to embrace diversity. Embracing diversity to me means acknowledging students as individuals and identifying ways for the students to learn best,” says Dr. Wang. She promotes an evidence-based approach to treatment planning and decision making. In addition, Dr. Wang urges her students to think independently in both clinical and didactic settings. “I always encourage my students to challenge themselves and treat each patient with a fresh pair of eyes,” she says.
Dr. Wang is an eclectic learner who loves to multi-task. “I enjoy the balance of my job,” she says. “I do research, clinical teaching, didactic teaching, and administrative work. I believe this experience deepens my knowledge, which I can then impart to my students.”
Although Dr. Wang loves surgery, she sees periodontology as the foundation of dentistry. She says, “In the predoc clinic, almost every single patient needs to be seen by a periodontist. You need to make sure the teeth have solid periodontium for the success of subsequent interdisciplinary collaboration treatments. Periodontology is one of the most important puzzles in dentistry.”
Of her award, Dr. Wang says, “This scholarship provides significant assistance to me to pursue dental education. It’s very meaningful to receive an award named after the educator who established the University of Pennsylvania’s periodontics program.” Support from the AAP foundation has also allowed Dr. Wang to focus on her study of microbiology, identifying the uncultured potential periodontal pathogens to better understand the cause of the disease.
Dr. Wang wants donors to understand that, “young periodontists who have devoted themselves to academia truly appreciate the chance to focus on education and research. This generosity benefits not only educators and researchers but also dental students and future generations.”