Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (ECU SoDM)
hosted an inaugural charity care event on March 18–19, designed to reach adults
in the greatest need of dental care.
A new initiative, ECU Smiles, was held at the school’s
community service learning center in Elizabeth City, NC—one of eight dental
education and care centers operating in rural and underserved areas across the
state. The effort marks another way to advance the school’s mission of
educating students while supporting North Carolinians who lack access to
primary health care services.
faculty and students are veterans of dental missions. They are very involved in
the North Carolina Dental Society’s Missions of Mercy free clinics around our
state,” says Dr. Michael Scholtz, ECU SoDM’s Assistant Dean for Extramural
Clinical Practices. “But this is the first such clinic offered by our school.”
dentists is a problem for many North Carolinians. The state ranks 47th
nationally in the number of dentists per capita. Outside of North Carolina’s 20
urban counties are 80 rural counties where 40% of the state’s population lives.
Yet, rural counties have about half the number of dentists as urban counties
per 10,000 people.
dental school’s faculty, students and residents delivered the care at ECU
Smiles, the ECU College of Nursing and several local partners
supported the event.
especially grateful to our Elizabeth City partners for identifying and
contacting the patients. Local partnerships were essential for reaching those
most in need in their community,” Dr. Scholtz says. Elizabeth City is
approximately 90 miles northeast of the dental school.
faculty, fourth-year students and residents serving North Carolinians at
centers in Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Brunswick County, Davidson County,
Lillington, Robeson County, Spruce Pine and Sylva, the school is well
positioned to offer ECU Smiles in other locations.
Chadwick, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of ECU SoDM, says, “The cost of ECU Smiles in
dollars and cents is substantial, but its value to patients suffering from poor
oral health can’t be measured.” He also notes, “At this point, we don’t know
how often we can offer ECU Smiles. We do know, however, that many organizations
across the state are committed to improving primary health care, and we’ll be
calling on them for partnerships.”
Published on April 13, 2016.