Goals and Program Scope
To introduce dental students to the professional camaraderie of organized dentistry.
To ease the transition between dental school and postgraduate activities.
To provide dental students with further information about and exposure to the many facets of operating a private dental practice.

ISDS staff will be responsible for coordinating the program between SIU/SDM students and ISDS member dentists. All SIU/SDM dental students are invited to participate in the program, and all ISDS member dentists are eligible to become mentors.

Each mentor/student relationship should last through one full school year with the option to renew the relationship for an additional year or change to a new mentor. Geographic area, specialty and special interests will all be taken into consideration for a mentor/student match.

Mentors and students will be asked to keep ISDS informed of progress. If relationship is not pursued or if participants don’t seem to be well matched, another match will be made and inactive participants will be removed from program.

Activities for Mentors and Students
Attend orientation session for mentors and students (to be scheduled during the first semester of the school year)
Attend dental society’s annual meeting, CE courses or component meetings; introducing student to colleagues
Attend a social or sporting event; having a meal together
Visit the mentor’s dental practice or accompany the student to another colleague’s office
Help the student with career planning, résumé or CV writing and, if appropriate, finding a job
Discuss financial matters, including practice financing, credit card options and school debt
Discuss running a business and staffing issues
Introduce the student to the many benefits of joining and becoming involved in organized dentistry

Mentor Responsibilities
Initiate the first contact; send an introduction letter or telephone the student as soon as assignment is made
Express your expectations for the relationship
Communicate frequently and openly with your student (by phone, e-mail, fax or in person); maintain an “open door” policy; act as a resource
Invite the student to your office to observe how your dental practice operates, and include the student in meetings with dental suppliers and business contacts.
Invite the student to attend local, state and study club meetings with you; act as an informal host; introduce student to your colleagues, as well as to state and local dental society leaders
Attend Mentor Program events (e.g., socials, sporting events, CE courses, etc.)
Promote organized dentistry to the student and share what it means to be a professional and a member of the dental community
Be a friend; don’t try to be a parent
Feel free to share your opinion when asked a question, but guard against telling the student what to do or not to do; if legal advice is needed, advise the student to seek legal counsel
Provide feedback about your experiences as a mentor to ISDS

Student Responsibilities
Communicate frequently and openly with your mentor (by phone, e-mail, fax or in person)
Express your expectations for the relationship
Honor your appointments or commitments
Attend Mentor Program events (e.g., socials, sporting events, CE courses, etc.)
Attend Mentor’s local, state and study club meetings, if feasible
Provide feedback about your experiences to ISDS
And, above all, have fun and enjoy yourselves!

What if the relationship doesn’t work?
If you’ve given it your best shot and tried communicating with each other, contact Kathy Ridley, ISDS Director of education and membership. She will offer suggestions to try to improve the situation. If you feel you and your assigned mentor/student are not well matched, a new pairing may be made. Please don’t be discouraged or give up on the program. Not all matches are meant to be.

Additional information available to logged in members