East Carolina University School of Dentistry will be one of the first public dental schools in the United States established in the past 40 years with an emphasis on serving the oral health care needs of rural America by focusing the curriculum on the education of general dentists to provide dental care and health policy leadership in North Carolina communities that have limited health resources and few other dentists, particularly specialists. 

Dental schools in other states operate admirable community education programs and provide valuable service learning opportunities for their students. However, in most dental schools, these community programs are often elective experiences or relatively brief 2-4 week rotations designed to supplement the core in-school clinical training.  A recent study found that the typical senior student in U.S. dental schools receives an average of only 11 days of patient care experience in community settings.  No other dental school emphasizes the unique culture and challenges of health services delivery and medical/dental disease patterns in small town America.

ECUSOD is also unique in that the primary focus of student recruitment will be individuals from rural and underserved areas who desire to return to this environment as health care providers. The school will also take the unique approach of preparing graduates to fulfill leadership roles in these communities and will provide students with curricular experiences designed to help them succeed as general dentists and as small business operators in the often economically challenging environment of rural counties.
ECUSOD will educate graduates to function autonomously as the sole dentist within a region and thus will emphasize the diagnostic role of the general dentist since timely referral to dental specialists is often not feasible in the rural practice environment. ECUSOD students will enter school with the expectation that substantial components of the curriculum will be implemented outside the confines of the core campus and with the expectation that their capstone learning experience will be an extended immersion in a dental clinic located in a rural community away from the ECU campus.

With a projected opening date of fall 2011, ECUSOD will provide a unique dental education experience with emphasis on preparing graduates to fulfill an expanded primary care role that requires well developed assessment skills and capacity to provide a broad array of dental care services without support from dental specialists such as endodontists, oral surgeons and pediatric dentists who are often not available in rural North Carolina.

For more information about the Greenville, NC – Pitt County area—especially real estate information, please contact The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team at (252) 321-6161.