The ECU School of Dental Medicine Community Service Learning Center-Robeson County was honored among Robeson County organizations and individuals for efforts to improve the health of the region during Southeastern Health’s 2018 Regional Community Health Awards night on October 23 on the campus of Robeson Community College.
Honorees were selected out of 38 nominees in the categories of business, community education and emergency support, faith-based, government, health care providers, individual impact, in-house heroes and lifetime achievement.
The Community Service Learning Center (CSLC)-Robeson County, located at 600 Country Club Road in Lumberton, N.C., was chosen from a field of four health care providers in the county. The awards were presented by Southeastern Health’s executive leadership team.
The CSLC-Robeson County, which opened in January 2015 and has served over 3,800 patients, is one of ECU’s eight dental centers in rural and underserved communities across North Carolina. The centers provide hands-on training for fourth-year dental students and residents while offering dentistry at a reduced cost to children and adults. Each center includes ECU faculty dentists, dental and business staff, students, and residents.
“The majority of our staff grew up in Robeson County,” said Craig Slotke, DDS, the center’s faculty director, “so they are really engaged in the community and want to see a healthier population.”
The center often participates in community outreach. Recent projects include the Smithfield Packing Health Fair, Mohr House (assistant living) Health Fair, Give Kids a Smile free dental event, Fairgrove Middle School Career Day, Lewis Chapel Middle School Career Day, Tiny Tots Daycare (Dental Health Month), and Boys and Girls Club Career Day.
The center also provides consultation, evaluation, and treatment for patients of Southeastern Health’s Gibson Cancer Center located nearby.
“I am so very pleased and honored that the ECU School of Dental Medicine and particularly our facility in Robeson County was recognized for our service,” said Dr. Slotke. “After thirty-four years in private practice, I can truly say that providing care to the underserved in this community has been some of the most fulfilling years of my professional life. I have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful and committed team to educate and treat patients while training the next generation of dentists to have a commitment to serve.”
Mr. William “Bill” Smith, Robeson County’s director of Public Health for over 30 years, was honored with Southeastern Health’s Lifetime Commitment Award. He said, “The effort I’m most proud of is one of the other winners—the ECU learning center. We were not the top pick for a location and I appreciate them going out on a limb to come here. They are doing exactly what we wanted, bringing more dentists to the area and making our kids want to be dentists. So, it’s everything that I wanted.”
Greg Chadwick, DDS, dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine, said, “We are extremely proud of Dr. Slotke and his staff, students, and residents for their efforts in improving oral health in and around Robeson County and for the partnerships they have developed to help North Carolinians live healthier lives. They and our other CSLCs are on the forefront of ECU’s model of regional transformation.”