Author Archives: David Jones

Praise for a Legend: Dr. Royce Montgomery receives Living Legend Award from UNC School of Medicine

Dr. Royce Montgomery, visiting lecturer at the ECU School of Dental Medicine and anatomist extraordinaire, received a Living Legend Award from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine during the 38thAnnual Zollicoffer-Merrimon Banquet at the Carolina Club in Chapel Hill February 8, 2019.

The Zollicoffer Living Legend Award was established in 2012 by Dr. Michael Zollicoffer to recognize the dedication of faculty, staff, physicians, educators, mentors, and community members who have made lasting impacts on the lives of students and communities.

Dr. Royce Montgomery accepted a Living Legend Award from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine during the 38th Annual Zollicoffer-Merrimon Banquet on February 8.

Dr. Royce Montgomery accepted a Living Legend Award from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine during the 38th Annual Zollicoffer-Merrimon Banquet on February 8.

Award honorees are recognized as change-agents in their community. Nominated by the staff of the UNC School of Medicine’s Office of Special Programs’ Medical Education Development (MED) Program, Montgomery was selected for the award in honor of his passion for and dedication to teaching and mentoring medical students over a 50-year career at UNC.

Montgomery taught over 7,000 students in both the medical and dental schools at UNC-Chapel Hill over the course of his career, as well as directed the school’s MED anatomy course from its inception in 1974 to his retirement in 2013. He has also been a guest lecturer in the foundational biological sciences at the ECU School of Dental Medicine for the past three years, instructing beginning dental students in their first and second terms on basic head and neck anatomy.

Dr. Todd Watkins, the ECU dental school’s assistant dean for dental education and informatics, was a student of Montgomery’s in the 1980s.

“Royce Montgomery had a profound impact on my life,” Watkins said. “Yes, he taught me gross anatomy in dental school, but, more importantly, he was a tenacious partner in making me want to be a dental educator. He demanded that his students strove to understand the content instead of settling for passing tests.”

The two spent countless hours together, Watkins added, making precise cross-sections through human brains to build one of the first 3-D wireframes of human neuroanatomy using AutoCAD 1.0 in 1986. Watkins won awards for that research. Their project was the first American Dental Association table clinic with computers; that project led Watkins to his first teaching job after dental school, and Watkins credits Montgomery for building the foundation for everything he achieved thereafter.

ECU’s Dr. Alvin “Rocky” Underwood is delighted that ECU students are receiving the benefit of classes with his former UNC professor, Dr. Montgomery.

ECU’s Dr. Alvin “Rocky” Underwood is delighted that ECU students are receiving the benefit of classes with his former UNC professor, Dr. Montgomery.

“Royce once told me, ‘Son, people don’t come by knowledge easily. Learn it to the level that you can teach it to others.’ I have tried to meet that challenge and have been incredibly fortunate to have been mentored by this living legend. Most importantly, I am proud to have him as a friend and colleague. Nobody deserves this honor more.”

Montgomery has been recognized by UNC-Chapel Hill on at least 14 prior occasions for excellence in teaching. He devotes time and financial support to fundraising campaigns for the MED Program. The staff of MED looks forward each summer to his annual “History of Anatomy” lecture to begin the gross anatomy course. He also continues to reach the next generation of learners. He has guest lectured for visiting school groups from across the state and a host of other medical and dental groups and organizations all of whom benefit from this legendary lecturer and enthusiastic educator.

Dr. Alvin “Rocky” Underwood, clinical assistant professor of endodontics at ECU, was a student at the UNC School of Dentistry in the 1970s, and he remembers well the classes taught by Montgomery.

“It has been 44 years since I was his student,” Underwood said. “He is a legend among many generations of dental and medical students. Our students are extremely fortunate to have him as their gross anatomy instructor.”

In a letter of support for Dr. Montgomery’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Medical Education from the UNC medical school in 2009, Dr. Kurt Gilliland, associate professor of cell biology and physiology at UNC, wrote the following:

“Dr. Montgomery’s teaching has been recognized on many occasions, as evidenced by 13 teaching awards. In 1994, The News and Observer featured Dr. Montgomery with a full-page article and photograph series, entitled ‘Montgomery’s Ward.’ The article chronicled his storied career and fame throughout North Carolina as an educator. The current first-year medical class has embraced Dr. Montgomery, his dissection prowess, and his quick wit by including his picture on their class t-shirt. Furthermore, the students ended their class ‘Structure and Development’ with a humorous dialog on the course forum entitled ‘Montgomery-isms.’ The 74 comments (with 2274 views) indicate the students’ infatuation with his knowledge, laboratory ability, and entertaining examination reviews.

In addition to numerous scholarly publications, Dr. Montgomery has also co-authored 17 textbooks or review books of gross anatomy. Behind the scenes, he has served on numerous curriculum committees and has mentored many faculty members as they begin their careers in medical education. The students probably do not realize that faculty members strategically position themselves in the laboratory next to Dr. Montgomery so that they can learn from him while they teach the students.

Whenever I have an opportunity, I enjoy sitting down with Dr. Montgomery for a cup of coffee. His stories of funny students, his experience with unusual cadavers, and his institutional memory of the UNC School of Medicine are both amazing and impressive.”

UNDERSTANDING DIABETES: School of Dental Medicine researcher receives grant to study diabetes

After 20 years in diabetes research, Dr. Shannon Wallet believes that the key to addressing Type 1 diabetes is to understand the immune system processes that lead to the disease.

Wallet, an associate professor in foundational sciences at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, will continue unraveling these mysteries, with a recent $357,382 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Shannon Wallet, associate professor in the Department of Foundational Sciences at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, studies the communication of the immune system in her quest to understand diabetes. Along with her own research, she mentors student researchers. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

Dr. Shannon Wallet, associate professor in the Department of Foundational Sciences at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, studies the communication of the immune system in her quest to understand diabetes. Along with her own research, she mentors student researchers. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

“This area of research is important as it is becoming clear that Type 1 diabetes is not a singular disease, but rather a classification of diseases whose clinical outcomes are similar,” said Wallet. “Thus, the mechanisms which result in the signs and symptoms are extremely complicated and extraordinarily different.”

Millions of people around the world live with diabetes, and it’s extremely prevalent in North Carolina. The condition affects how the body uses blood sugar, or glucose, to fuel the cells. In Type 1 diabetes, the rarer form of the disease, the body fails to produce insulin—a hormone the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the muscles, tissue and brain cells—because the immune system has destroyed the cells that make insulin. This results in the buildup of glucose in the bloodstream and is known as high blood sugar or hyperglycemia.

Wallet said the number of people directly and indirectly affected by the Type 1 diabetes epidemic is growing every day and although Type 1 diabetes itself may not be a deadly disease its secondary complications most definitely lead to increased pain and suffering.

Wallet also said scientists are still seeking answers to key questions about how the disease starts and progresses. For example, why don’t all people who are predisposed for the development of Type 1 diabetes actually develop the disease? Similarly, why does the disease progress more quickly in some individuals than in others?

Dr. Wallet guides the research of dental students such as first-year students Branden Sumner and Colby Godwin.

Dr. Wallet guides the research of dental students such as first-year students Branden Sumner and Colby Godwin.

“My thoughts are that these differences are due to differences in an individual’s response to environmental experiences,” she said. “My laboratory studies the communication of the immune system with the environment at the largest environmental interface within our body: the gastrointestinal tract.”

The specific focus of Wallet’s NIH grant is to identify pathways within the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract (epithelial cells) induced by the environment that promote and/or support the types of immune responses that are responsible for the destruction of the cells of the body that make insulin.

Wallet’s training in diabetes research started in graduate school under the direction of Dr. Roland Tisch at UNC-Chapel Hill. Wallet describes her mentor’s commitment to research and disease processes as “very contagious.”

During her 15-year independent research career, Wallet has focused on determining how and why the immune system sometimes attacks the body’s own tissues, resulting in the group of diseases referred to as autoimmune disorders.

“If we can understand the difference in the communication that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract of individuals with Type 1 diabetes and how it shapes the immune system, we can figure out the initiating events of this disease process and design better therapies and even preventive treatments to curb ongoing disease processes,” said Wallet.

Dr. David Paquette, interim associate dean for research at the School of Dental Medicine, calls Wallet’s research “innovative and cutting edge.”

“Dr. Wallet’s research on the role of gut immune responses on the pathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes has the potential to profoundly alter the way in which we prevent or manage this prevalent human disease,” he said.

PUBLISHED FEB 04, 2019 BY
PEGGY NOVOTNY

Fourth-year student Bianca Adams is directing plans for the SNDA’s upcoming national conference.

Bianca Kristina Adams, a fourth-year student at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, will test her leadership skills in the next few months as vice president of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA).

Adams is heading up plans for the organization’s annual conference in Washington, DC, in July 2019. The conference will draw approximately 350 students from dental schools across the country, and Adams wants the three-day experience to exceed students’ expectations.

As vice president of the Student National Dental Association, fourth-year student Bianca Adams is planning the organization’s upcoming national meeting.

As vice president of the Student National Dental Association, fourth-year student Bianca Adams is planning the organization’s upcoming national meeting.

The SNDA was established 40 years ago to promote, aid and support the academic and social environment of minority dental students. The SNDA is the student branch of the National Dental Association (NDA) for dental professionals. Both organizations promote oral health equity among people of color, and they hold their annual meetings jointly each July.

This is Adams’s third year on the national SNDA conference planning committee but her first year in charge. She finds herself regularly marshalling phone calls, email, group chats and in-person planning sessions with committee chairs.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said Adams of her committee. “SNDA is like a big family, so I can rely on others for support. I really wanted to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. We all come to the table with a different perspective but everyone’s perspective is important.”

Along with continuing education sessions highlighting the latest in treatment planning, dental photography, inter-oral scanning, and cosmetic dentistry, Adams is excited to offer opportunities for pre-dental students, dental students and dental professionals to mingle at the conference.

“Mentorship is a very important part of the SNDA and the NDA,” said Adams. “There are many first-generation college students among our ranks, so the support of other students and dentists will be an important part of their professional development. We are planning a mentorship breakfast, and I’m sure it will be very popular.”

The SNDA has figured prominently in Adams’s dental education. She says the organization has taught her to work within a team, to lead with confidence, to fend off intimidation, and to be resilient.

“We are so proud of the work that Bianca is doing as a student and as a leader in the Student National Dental Association,” said Dr. Maggie Wilson, vice dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. “She already understands the importance of professional organizations in advancing dentistry and dental professionals.”

Adams’s SNDA duties come amid her final year of dental school in which she and her classmates are completing 27 weeks of intensive clinical experience at the school’s community service learning centers in underserved areas across North Carolina. Her rotations have taken her to centers in Robeson County and Elizabeth City. She now treats at least five patients a day at the Brunswick County center.

Adams comes from a U.S. Army family. She was born in Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from high school in Atlanta, Georgia. Her family is now settled in Fayetteville, N.C. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2011 with a bachelor of science in public health studies, and she completed a dental post-baccalaureate program at University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, California.

In dental school, Adams has served on the Humanistic Environment Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Community. She has also served as president and vice president of ECU’s SNDA chapter and was the national SNDA representative to the National Dental Association Foundation. She has been a contributing author for the American Student Dental Association’sContour magazine.

Though planning the conference is time consuming and a little stressful, Adams is confident that the outcome will be worth the investment. She’ll do all she can to make sure other dental students feel the support of the SNDA and National Dental Association.

“It is an honor to plan the SNDA conference for dental students from across the United States. I’ve met some of my closest friends and some wonderful mentors through the SNDA. I’m really excited about the conference and about sharing my enthusiasm for the organization that has been an integral part of my pre-dental and dental school journey,” said Adams.

Adams plans to pursue a general practice residency (hospital dentistry) after graduation and then seek further education or join a dental practice in North Carolina.

East Carolina University, XComP Analytics, Inc. Secure Partnership

On June 21, East Carolina University and XComP Analytics, Inc. – a newly formed entity backed by several regional entrepreneurs – signed an exclusive license agreement that allows the company to fully develop and grow it’s eXtensible Competencies Platform (XComP) developed by ECU researchers.

R. Todd Watkins Jr., assistant dean for dental education and informatics at ECU’s School of Dental Medicine, created and developed the eXtensible Competencies Platform (XComP)

R. Todd Watkins Jr., assistant dean for dental education and informatics at ECU’s School of Dental Medicine, created and developed the eXtensible Competencies Platform (XComP)

For the past 10 years, researchers at ECU have used advanced analytics techniques to assess student and institutional performance relative to standards in competence, proficiency and mastery of instructional knowledge, performance skills and professional value components of institutional program curricula.

Traditional institutions have relied solely on course grades to assess student performance, despite this being an inaccurate gauge of competence. Created and developed by R. Todd Watkins Jr., assistant dean of academics and informatics at ECU’s School of Dental Medicine, XComP normalizes the most granular data from simple and complex assessments to build a longitudinally-constructed composite picture of overall student performance.

In the past two years, XComP focused on connections to third-party assessment technologies through advanced programming interfaces, customized expression of data to personalized dashboards, and integration with IBM’s cloud services and Watson Analytics.

“XComP was initially built to analyze the detailed strengths and weaknesses of students across all courses within a single degree program,” Watkins said. “We see XComP as a component of a larger, cloud-integrated ‘educational ecosystem’ that connects a wide variety of traditional educational softwares with non-traditional, job-specific performance reporting systems to expand the scope of the project to any level of education and training.”

Watkins worked closely with ECU’s Office of Innovation and New Ventures to protect the core components of the technology. It was through this process, and the issuing of the initial patent in 2011, that led IBM to Watkins and the XComP platform.

Mark Wdowik, executive director of ECU’s Office of Innovation and New Ventures, has been involved in technology transfer and commercialization at several university systems.

“The licensing of XComP to a commercialization partner represents the important start of the exciting phase of commercialization,” Wdowik said. “ECU continues to support the project as it enters its next phase of implementation. As an economic driver for the region, ECU is committed to moving research innovation to the marketplace for impact.”

Danny W. Mills, president of XComP Analytics, Inc., said the company is working with IBM to expand the business opportunities and the scalability of the original technologies through utilizing microservices, cloud optimization and integrating with IBM Watson. IBM engineers are working with the company to scale the systems for use in any educational and training program around the world.

The XComP technology has expanded far beyond the original design of reporting student performance to include live reporting for both discipline-specific and institutional accreditation, Mills said.

“The rich and detailed data sources contained in XComP will save potentially millions of dollars for the institutions going through the accreditation process and will also serve to enhance the analytics for connected systems,” Mills added. “XComP is the next logical step in creating a direct connection between application processes, student performance evaluation, program evaluation and accreditation reporting.”

Phillip Hodges and Jim Chesnutt, two local entrepreneurs and ECU alumni, are board members of XComP Analytics, Inc., and investors in the company.

“An implementation of XComP, starting at ECU then throughout the UNC system, could set it apart as a national leader in using collection and analysis of big data for the betterment of the entire education process, in multiple programs, across multiple disciplines,” Chesnutt said.

In a recent article, UNC System senior administrators stated that “getting us all on the same fact-based framework, and supplying the data our leaders at every level need is the UNC system’s No. 1 priority.

Jay Golden, ECU vice chancellor for Research, Economic Development and Engagement, believes platform can help aid the university in its fight against educational disparities in rural regions.

“One of the pillars of ECU’s Rural Prosperity Initiative is to address educational disparities in our region,” Golden said. “XComP’s novel analytics tool provides an avenue for schools and universities at all levels to better their academic programs and provide more effective, personalized teaching methods for students. ECU and XComP are harnessing big data to solve educational issues that can begin reversing educational disparity trends.”

About XComP Analytics Inc.

XComP Analytics, Inc, is a newly formed Delaware Corporation established to exploit the development and eventual sale of the core XComP technology created by ECU over the past several years and recently licensed by the company. XComP is positioned to become a leader in big data analytics in education and has numerous seasoned entrepreneurs from across the nation as management, board members and investors.

About ECU

ECU offers more than 85 bachelors, 72 masters and 19 doctoral degrees to nearly 29,000 students at its Greenville, N.C., campus and through its acclaimed online learning program. The university is ranked in the top three of the 17 member University of North Carolina System for research expenditures in health sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, life sciences, geological and earth sciences, expenditures of funding from health and human services, and expenditures of funding from businesses. ECU received $3.1 million in total economic development revenue for the 2016-17 academic year, with eight startups formed, six patents issued and 15 total products to market.

PUBLISHED JUN 21, 2018 BY Matthew Smith

Advocates in Action

Skyler Lagcher knows that part of her experience in ECU’s School of Dental Medicine is building an awareness of issues that could impact their future careers—and their future patients. That’s why she and several other SoDM students took on active roles in state and national advocacy efforts and events during the fall ’18 semester.

Through conferences and activities giving them access to viewpoints from dentists, lawmakers, policymakers and other future dentists, the students learned about issues—from the opioid crisis to licensure reform—that will affect the way they approach dental practice in the coming years.

School of Dental Medicine students (from left to right) Bryan Yang, Shailja Amin, Skyler Lagcher and Brittanie Height went to Washington, D.C., to the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Mid-Atlantic Advocacy Academy Conference in fall ’18 to take part in advocacy activities.

School of Dental Medicine students (from left to right) Bryan Yang, Shailja Amin, Skyler Lagcher and Brittanie Height went to Washington, D.C., to the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Mid-Atlantic Advocacy Academy Conference in fall ’18 to take part in advocacy activities.

“Your duties don’t stop at the dental chair,” said Lagcher, a second-year SoDM student from Pinetown. “A lot of dental professionals focus on the clinical and professional side, which is important, but we also have an obligation as future professionals to advocate in our field. It’s a long-term commitment.”

Lagcher, along with fellow SoDM students Brittanie Height, Shailja Amin and Bryan Yang traveled in mid-October to Washington, D.C., to the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Mid-Atlantic Advocacy Academy Conference, where they engaged in a day of workshops on the advocacy basics and learned ASDA’s stance on a variety of issues, including the opioid crisis, mid-level providers and dental licensure reform. Upon their return, the students held a lunch-and-learn session called “Advocake”—complete with an ASDA cake—to discuss advocacy with SoDM D1-D4 cohorts.

“For me, this conference was crucial to being informed about the issues that are affecting our patients and profession; understanding ASDA’s stance on them and figuring out how I can impact change in these areas,” said Height, a first-year student from Charlotte. “For all of the issues addressed, I was able to glean new or fresh insight. I was also able to meet and speak with more experienced advocates in our profession, hear about their passion projects and their stance on the issues.”

Among the issues covered at the conference and discussed with other advocates, bridging barriers to care became one issue that Height has decided to champion.

“Addressing barriers to care is something that I am personally passionate about and understand first-hand,” she said. “It’s important that we as practitioners never lose sight of the things that may prevent our patients from receiving the care they need. It is integral that we think critically about the role we play in those barriers and take action to remove as many of them as possible.”

Advocacy is also breaking barriers for the students as they learn to think beyond the basics.

“Before coming to dental school, I knew that I wanted to be involved in impacting positive change in the lives of our patients and our profession,” Height said. “I know from experience that some things can be impacted by the provider alone, but there are other things that must be changed systemically to truly move forward.”

Dr. Maggie Wilson, SoDM vice dean and associate dean for student affairs, said advocacy experiences are important for students because such opportunities prepare them to be voices for communities of need—to speak for the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf.

“A key facet of our mission is to educate leaders—who are also dentists,” Wilson said. “Having the opportunity to attend professional meetings and interact with their peers across the nation is an important component of their leadership development and provides students a forum for exchanging ideas and coming together as a collective voice. That experience maximizes their leadership potential and advocacy impact.”

Although her efforts in advocacy are based in a desire to serve her patients to the best of her ability, Lagcher also came to the ECU School of Dental Medicine with a plan to push herself beyond the standard requirements of her education. The advocacy events helped her learn more about herself by challenging her existing beliefs about her abilities and parameters.

“It was intimidating at first,” she said. “I was stepping outside my comfort zone, but I realized there were so many opportunities for education outside the classroom. I also wanted to find a way to challenge my own leadership capabilities, so I stepped up in the advocacy realm.”

Lagcher said that advocacy has helped her learn to balance a variety of educational facets, not just focusing on her classroom studies. The opportunity to represent the SoDM on a state and national stage was an honor, she added.

“You always want to represent the school well,” she said. “You want to put a good face on an up-and-coming dental school. For the school to have faith in you to send you out to these events is great. If you want to be involved, they will help you do it.”

By Spaine Stephens
University Communications

SALUTES AND SMILES: School of Dental Medicine’s CSLC–Sylva hosts inaugural ECU Smiles for Veterans event

For Lloyd Holland, walking into the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine’s community service learning center in Sylva, N.C., felt like coming home all over again.

Holland and about 40 other veterans from seven western North Carolina counties received dental care from students, residents and faculty from the School of Dental Medicine during the inaugural ECU Smiles for Veterans event on Thursday, Nov. 15.

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Dental Students Don White Coats

The ECU School of Dental Medicine bestowed clinical white coats upon 51 students in the Class of 2021 during a ceremony on the evening of Nov. 8. The event signaled that these second-year students are ready to apply their intensive course work and clinical knowledge to patient care in the clinics of Ledyard E. Ross Hall.

“From this point on, you will be held to a higher standard—that of doctor of dental medicine and a member of the dental profession,” said Greg Chadwick, dean of the dental school. “The white coat symbolizes the most important relationship of your professional life—the relationship between patient and doctor.”

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ECU dental school earns national honor for innovation

The national organization representing all U.S. and Canadian dental schools announced last week that a 2019 award for innovation will go to the School of Dental Medicine at East Carolina University. It is the first national honor to recognize the university for its breakthrough approach to providing practical experience for future dentists through rural service-learning centers across North Carolina.

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First-year student receives four-year scholarship to ECU dental school

Greenville, NC (October 31, 2018)—Jonelle Romero, a first-year student at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, has received a four-year scholarship to the ECU School of Dental Medicine from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NHSC provides financial, professional and educational resources to primary care medical, dental, and behavioral health care professionals, who bring their skills to areas of the United States with limited access to health care.

Jonelle Romero, a first year dental student, has received a four-year scholarship to dental school from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

Jonelle Romero, a first year dental student, has received a four-year scholarship to dental school from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

The scholarship covers tuition, fees, and other relevant educational expenses and a monthly stipend for living expenses. The program finances the education of selected students, who will reciprocate by serving in health professional shortage areas upon graduation and licensure. For every year a student is awarded the scholarship, they commit to a year of service—with a two-year service minimum.

A native of New York, Ms. Romero grew up in Greenville. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in public health studies. As an undergraduate, she co-founded Pirate After School Scholars tutoring program, and she volunteered for Making Pitt Fit Community Garden. She is a first-generation college graduate in her family.

Since entering dental school in August, Ms. Romero has been active in the Student Research Group, the Student National Dental Association, Public Health Club, and the American Student Dental Association. “Diligence, hard work, and being scholarly pays off when the reward is receiving a scholarship to fulfill your dream,” she said.

“We are extremely pleased for Jonelle and for the dental school that she was selected to receive the NHSC four-year scholarship,” said Dr. Margaret Wilson, the school’s vice dean and associate dean for Student Affairs. “Her commitment to our school’s mission is evident already. We look forward to watching her grow as a dental care provider.”

Ms. Romero’s long-term goal is to practice general dentistry in rural areas of North Carolina. “Eventually, I envision myself joining or creating outreach initiatives to strengthen communities in our state. I also hope to continue mentoring pre-dental students and volunteering at free dental clinics,” she added.

During her fourth year of dental school, Ms. Romero and her classmates will complete three 9-week rotations at the school’s Community Service Learning Centers located in eight rural communities across North Carolina—a unique opportunity to deliver care and learn about population health challenges in different parts of the state.

Kernersville native, ECU dental student, receives 2018 Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Scholarship

Greenville, N.C. (October 31, 2018)—Jiwon Lim, a third-year student at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, has been selected to receive a 2018 Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) Foundation Scholarship for $5,000 to help defray educational expenses.

The DTA is an association of companies that provide dental equipment, supplies, materials and services to dentists and other oral care professionals. The DTA Foundation functions to broaden awareness of oral health’s impact on overall health and increase access to oral health care. 

Third-year student Jiwon Lim received a 2018 Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) Foundation Scholarship.

Third-year student Jiwon Lim received a 2018 Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) Foundation Scholarship.

The DTA Foundation awards scholarships to rising third- and fourth-year dental students who have demonstrated academic excellence in dentistry and have an established commitment to community service.

A native of Kernersville, N.C., Ms. Lim graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014 with a double major in biology and music. She is president of the ECU School of Dental Medicine Student Chapter of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry. She has also served on the executive boards of the school’s Student Chapters of the American Association of Women Dentists and the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry. 

Ms. Lim was selected for the 2018-2019 J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellowship Program sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, through which she and ECU Brody School of Medicine student Niki Winters are expanding an interprofessional medical-dental free clinic for homeless and uninsured patients. The clinic was launched last year by another dental-medical team of ECU Schweitzer Fellows.

“I’m so grateful to be chosen as a recipient of the DTA Foundation Scholarship,” said Ms. Lim. “Serving the community is a passion of mine, and for the DTA Foundation to recognize my efforts is such an honor. It would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of my family, classmates, faculty, and staff.”

“Jiwon is to be commended on receiving this award,” said Dr. Margaret Wilson, the dental school’s vice dean and associate dean for Student Affairs. “Her selection by the DTA Foundation recognizes her academic achievements as well as her commitment to promoting the mission of the ECU School of Dental Medicine.”

After graduation from dental school, Ms. Lim plans to join a residency program to gain advanced training in general dentistry or in an area of specialized dentistry.

During her fourth year of dental school, Ms. Lim and her classmates will complete three 9-week rotations at the school’s Community Service Learning Centers located in eight rural communities across North Carolina—a unique opportunity to deliver care and learn about population health challenges in different parts of the state.

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