Interview series: Karina’s ITI Scholarship experience

Karina Amorim
ITI Scholarship interview

Every year in June, the ITI opens the application portal for its Scholarships. We took this opportunity to ask one of our current Scholars, Karina Amorim from Brazil, about her experience, her daily work and what she likes the most about it. She started his Scholarship year in September 2021 at the ITI Scholarship Center in Gainesville, USA.

What are the three most memorable things you will take away from your Scholarship year?

The ITI Scholarship is giving me memories that I will cherish for a lifetime, it has allowed me to grow not professionally but also personally and culturally. When reflecting on my time spent in Gainesville, FL, I would say that the three most memorable things are:

(1) Having the opportunity to connect with people from around the world at various University Florida (UF) and ITI events and to create bonds that I feel will last a lifetime.

(2) Spending my days in an interdisciplinarity clinic (UF Center for Implant Dentistry (CID)) and becoming integrated into its workflow. The CID is composed of not only scholars, residents, and students, but its faculty comprises oral surgeons, prosthodontists, and periodontists, thus providing the patients with a comprehensive approach, a team approach.

(3) Being integrated and engaged in the CID digital lab and participating in the incorporation of this workflow into patient care. The growth of this technology and its impact on streamlining patient care and seeing the difference it makes to the patient experience has made me excited to learn more about the workflow and its added applications.  

Could you give us an idea of how your working week is structured?

The working week is structured in a way that allows us to focus on areas of implant dentistry that are important to us while participating in the core practices of the implant center (education, patient treatment, and research). I have been very fortunate to learn from well-established ITI Fellows such as Will Martin and Luiz Gonzaga, absorbing all the information on how patients are consulted, planned, and treated. Also, the interdisciplinary environment has allowed me to divide my education time between prosthodontics, surgery, and periodontics. All Scholars spend a good amount of time learning and practicing using digital technology, as this is where the majority of cases are planned and executed, and it is an indispensable component of the implant center’s daily workflow. Because of this workflow, and the interdisciplinary team’s integration and communication, the Scholars can plan, execute, and carry out follow-up treatments independently, always being supported by the team.

Why did you choose this specific Scholarship Center?

When completing my master’s degree in 2019, I was given the opportunity to spend 3 months at the UF Center for Implant Dentistry (CID). I had a great time, but at that point I was more focused on my research and thesis publication and left feeling like I wanted to really experience all that the Implant Center could provide. My master’s advisor, Dr. Newton Sesma, Brazil’s ITI Center coordinator, was the one who told me I should apply for the ITI Scholarship. The CID offers an interdisciplinary environment with clinical activities, laboratory (conventional and digital), research, providers of high-quality education, and is related to advanced restorative treatment including surgical placement and restoration with dental implants. The CID has an established workflow pathway embracing the offerings from the digital world through the use of volumetric radiology, intraoral and facial scans, additive manufacturing printers, milling machines, and a variety of software to assist in the diagnosis, planning, and treatment of patients. In addition, the Center offers an interdisciplinary team of oral surgeons, periodontists, and prosthodontists who practice in close proximity to each other within the same clinical environment, allowing for clear lines of communication and great interaction. Lastly, Dr. Martin and Dr. Gonzaga are renowned ITI Fellows and clinicians who have been practicing together for many years, while also performing clinical research, publishing articles, book chapters, and offering a wide variety of education.  

Do you get enough support to do your job well?  

Yes, it starts prior to arriving to Gainesville, Dr. Martin and Dr. Gonzaga assisted me by advising me about the city, and where to live. Also, upon arriving, the team made me feel welcome, and the work environment is amicable. In fact, I would say that I have met and made friends for a lifetime here. The Center is structured to work as a team, everyone has their place and support. All the plans, prior to being executed are evaluated by at least one of the attendings. In addition, every Tuesday we have a meeting to discuss the cases for the next week. In terms of support and partnership, the ITI Center at the University of Florida provides its Scholars all the necessary assistance to perform at a professional level and become future leaders wherever they end up.

Do you feel you are learning a lot?

Yes, it is quite impressive. Even though I was part of the ITI Center in Brazil, where we have the same treatment philosophy, it is incredible how much I am exposed to learning experiences every day. By having the opportunity to spend 5 days a week in a clinical environment where all the patients are “implant patients”, the faculty deliver to the Scholars not only the ITI ideology but also their philosophy of how to deal with complications, patients, and the workflow pathways. The Center’s values are something that I’ll take with me wherever I go.

What are your plans for the time after your Scholarship when you return home?

I would like to follow a career path involving teaching and education at a renowned university that also offers clinical care and research. In addition, I hope to have the opportunity to contribute to the ITI Center in Brazil, São Paulo, the ITI Academy, and to lecture for various groups and Study Clubs. I feel my ITI Scholarship experience will help turn these goals into reality.

Why would you recommend our Scholarship program to other young professionals?

If you are seeking a life-changing experience in the field of implant dentistry, the ITI Scholarship program can offer this opportunity. While education and research are primary benefits, the opportunity to develop leadership skills through networking with other students, professionals and industry while participating in clinical and learning environments is a key to success – as highlighted in the ITI’s mission statement “to promote and disseminate quality knowledge to serve dental professionals by fostering learning, networking, discussion, and exchange”.  

An additional benefit is the opportunity to travel and experience different languages and cultures and without the ITI Scholarship program this would have not been attainable.


Each year we enable young implant dentistry talent to spend a year abroad at a highly regarded university being mentored by an ITI Fellow at one of our 34 ITI Scholarship Centers around the globe. Are you keen on getting insight into every aspect of implant treatment? Would you like to dive into the complex world of case planning, implant surgery and prosthetic restorations in an international context? Our application portal is open from June 1 to June 30. Don’t hesitate any longer and apply now!

More information available on our website.

Authors

Karina Amorim
Karina Pintaudi Amorim DDS, MSc, has been working in private practice as a prosthodontist and general dentist since 2018. She is working on her PhD in prosthodontics and is currently an ITI Scholar at the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she also did an internship in 2019. Karina Pintaudi Amorim has contributed to conferences and workshops in Brazil and the US.
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