An ECU dental student provides care during Give Kids a Smile Day held earlier this year in Greenville. The annual event is sponsored by the East Central Dental Society and geared to improving children’s oral and overall health.
East Carolina University is helping foster healthier smiles from the mountains to the coast.
On May 16, ECU announced plans to build a dental clinic on U.S. 17 in Bolivia adjacent to Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in southeastern North Carolina. And the university’s School of Dental Medicine is scheduled to officially open its fourth community service learning center with a ribbon cutting in Sylva in southwestern North Carolina on June 27.
The Brunswick County center will be the eighth opened by the ECU School of Dental Medicine in underserved areas across the state. Centers are already serving patients in Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Lillington and Sylva and others are under construction in Spruce Pine, Davidson County and Robeson County.
Led by ECU dental faculty members, fourth-year dental students will receive clinical training at the centers while general dentistry residents also hone their skills at the facilities. The general dentistry centers feature treatment rooms, X-ray equipment, educational space and more.
The school recently was awarded a $451,955 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Division to fund audio-visual technology at the learning centers and to support infrastructure at Ledyard E. Ross Hall, the site of the school on ECU’s health sciences campus.
Students and residents at the centers stay connected to the teaching program at ECU by using a video teleconferencing system to attend lectures, seminars and consultations with specialists. Teleconferencing also allows for remote patient consultation and diagnosis and continuing education for dental faculty and area dentists.
ECU admitted its first class of 52 dental students in 2011. All students are North Carolina residents. The first class will begin seeing patients in the community service learning centers this fall.
Any member of the community – including Medicaid patients – can receive dental care at the centers.
For people who live in and near Greenville, a clinic is open at Ross Hall. Call 252-737-7834 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to learn more or to make an appointment. Or visit http://www.ecu.edu/dental.