May 132013
 
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The ECU School of Dental Medicine recently celebrated its designation as an Apple Distinguished Program. Pictured with Assistant Dean Dr. Todd Watkins, third from left, and Dean Greg Chadwick, third from the right, are dental students, left to right, Vivek Thanawala, Diana Luckhardt, Isaac Morton, Loren Moles and Barry Price. (Photo by Cliff Hollis).

Apple executives from North Carolina visited the School of Dental Medicine in April to celebrate the school’s designation as an Apple Distinguished Program for 2012-2013 with students, faculty and staff.

The Apple Distinguished Program title is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments. The school uses innovative technology in all aspects of its teaching, problem-solving and clinical education programs.

The School of Dental Medicine has created an environment with 31 rooms and clinical spaces connected by video teleconferencing, integrated seminar rooms, and simulation labs in Ledyard E. Ross Hall on campus and at community-based centers in rural parts of North Carolina.

Dental faculty and residents currently treat patients at ECU Community Service Learning Centers in Ahoskie and Elizabeth City. Eight more centers will be built in North Carolina in the near future. “Within the next two years, we’ll be placing fourth year students in underserved areas across the state to help improve oral health,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. “This concept is resting upon connectivity through these technologies.”

While at ECU, Dr. Sarah Farrell, development executive Apple Education, recognized Dr. R. Todd Watkins as a member of the 2013 Class of Apple Distinguished Educators. Watkins, assistant dean for dental education and informatics and the first faculty member hired by the school, was given the task of developing and implementing a new vision for health science curriculum, which involves an emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking.

The Apple Distinguished Educator Program began in 1994. Today it has grown into a worldwide community of visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with technology in and out of the classroom. Apple describes its distinguished educators as “part of a global community of education leaders” who “explore new ideas, seek new paths, and embrace new opportunities.”

As part of the program, Watkins will meet with other educators from around the world to discuss trends and technologies at a conference in Austin, Texas, in July.

 

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Oct 122012
 

Ross Hall, home of the School of Dental Medicine at ECU. Photo by Cliff Hollis, ECU News Services.

Today, East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine will roll out the welcome mat to the new Ledyard E. Ross Hall at a dedication ceremony on the health sciences campus. Students, faculty, staff and the public will celebrate and tour the 188,000-square-foot school beginning at 2 p.m.

The state-of-the-art facility is named for its benefactor and retired Greenville orthodontist Dr. Ledyard E. Ross, class of ’51. It includes 133 operatories, large “smart classroom” learning halls, faculty offices, seminar rooms and a simulation suite, where dental students can practice and perfect hand-skills.

The school welcomed its inaugural class of 52 pre-doctoral students in August 2011 and its second class of 52 students just two months ago. Until now, dental students have been sharing learning space at the Brody Medical Sciences Building.

While students and faculty are thrilled to move into their new home, Ross Hall serves a dual purpose. In addition to educating students, there are plans to provide reduced-fee dental care for low-income patients. The facility will house specialty suites, including pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, special needs and a clinical research area.

The dental school is dedicated to preparing world-class dentists committed to serving the needs of vulnerable North Carolinians. North Carolina averages three dentists per 10,000 people; this is half the national ratio.

In June, the school opened the first of 10 planned community service learning centers to reach rural, underserved populations. Residents and a supervising dentist are already caring for patients at the Ahoskie center.