Bulletin of Dental Education

School Leverages Statewide Presence With New Satellite Location

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The East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (ECU SoDM) is using its innovative model of curriculum and patient care to make continuing advancements in oral health care access for North Carolinians.

The ECU SoDM recently expanded beyond its eight statewide community service learning centers (CSLCs) to open a satellite location in coastal Hyde County—one of four counties in the state without a practicing dentist—to directly address the lack of oral health care access. Student and resident volunteers and faculty travel once a month to Swan Quarter, NC, to provide care to patients from surrounding rural areas. The school will also explore options for expanded availability in the area.

“This extension of our community service learning centers is a new way we can directly address the oral health care needs in counties and communities without a practicing dentist,” said Greg Chadwick, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of the ECU SoDM. “The Hyde County location provides a win-win for our patients as well as our students, who volunteer at the site and gain a better understanding of the oral health care challenges in specific areas of our state.”

ECU SoDM_Hyde Co

A team of students and faculty complete the first monthly clinic at the ECU School of Dental Medicine’s new satellite location in Swan Quarter, NC, located in Hyde County. (Contributed photo)








Since it opened in May, the ECU’s Hyde County satellite location has provided care for approximately 40 unique patients—completing a variety of procedures and services. This outreach initiative reflects the school’s model of statewide care through its CSLCs, which provide education and patient care and serve as a springboard for research initiatives, outreach and care for special populations. The CSLCs also serve as a high-tech network for teledentistry, connecting faculty, students and residents with on-campus clinicians. Fourth-year dental students complete rotations at three different CSLCs for 27 weeks of rigorous and diverse clinical experience. 

The CSLCs also serve as a hub for new outreach programming and grant projects geared toward reaching more patients in rural communities, including special initiatives in Bertie and Jones counties as well as the school’s ECU Smiles for Veterans program, which has served more than 200 veterans at three CSLC locations. The school is also contributing to research in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University that aims to increase connectivity for telehealth in homes across northeastern North Carolina. Another grant focuses on intensive residency training in the oral health care of special needs patients. The school is also leading a multidisciplinary research grant that will study ways to use technology to provide oral health information to adolescents.

ECU SoDM_Vets

Students, faculty and residents from the ECU School of Dental Medicine cared for 17 patients during the ECU Smiles for Veterans event at the school’s community service learning center in Lillington, NC. (Contributed photo) 






“Our curriculum model and CSLCs have really allowed our faculty, staff, students and residents to be creative in their use of technology, outreach and our state-of-the-art facilities throughout the state to improve the oral health of all of our patients, including those who come to us from some of North Carolina’s most remote communities,” said T. Rob Tempel, D.D.S., M.S.S., Associate Dean for Extramural Clinical Practices.

ECU SoDM_Patient Care

The ECU School of Dental Medicine hosts programs at its campus and statewide clinics that provide care for special populations across North Carolina. (Contributed photo)

The ECU SoDM, which was honored this spring with a Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Award for Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education, recently marked its first decade. The ECU SoDM has graduated 408 dentists; 90% of those who have completed their residency training programs are currently practicing in North Carolina. Through its on-campus and statewide presence, the ECU SoDM has provided care for nearly 90,000 patients from all 100 North Carolina counties.

Courtesy of Spaine Stephens, Public Communications Specialist, ECU Division of Health Sciences

Published on July 13, 2022

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