Community-Based Dental Education

University of North Carolina School of Dentistry
Chapel Hill, NC.
Type Clinical Research, Academic Enrichment, Health Disparities


The School of Dentistry has substantially increased its community education over the past two decades. Today, it provides high-quality comprehensive oral health care to all socioeconomic and cultural groups in the state and region. The School’s Dentistry in Service to Communities (DISC) program currently places all senior dental students in community-based, non-private practice sites for 50 days of clinical education. These clinical externships occur in a variety of public, not-for-profit sites that include county health departments, American Indian reservations, community health centers, VA clinics, correctional institutions, institutions for those with mental illness or developmental disabilities, and geriatric dental facilities. Project Accomplishments include: Expanded community-based, patient-centered clinical and experiential education to 50 required days in the senior year and hopes to reach a 60 day average for seniors in the Class of 2007. Increased the number of community clinical sites for student rotations. Strengthened and expanded the behavioral science curriculum consistent with the mission and goals of the Pipeline program. Programs include integrating distance learning, reflective and multimedia, and service learning components to better prepare students for community service. Developed a distance-learning reading elective course for students working in community sites. Expanded the existing Medical Education Development Program, an eight-week summer program for college juniors and seniors interested in pursuing a dental career. Expanded the Science Enrichment Preparation Program, which prepares minority and economically disadvantaged college sophomores and juniors for health-related graduate and professional training programs. Created a mentoring program for participants in summer enrichment programs that pairs summer students with current dental students. Created a joint URM/LI Recruitment Committee with the UNC School of Medicine. Collaborated with nonprofit initiatives to raise awareness of career options in dental dentistry for minority and disadvantaged high school and college students.


Contact Program.

More Information

Project Director
Dr. Ronald P. Strauss
Pipeline, Profession & Practice: Community-Based Dental Education, C.B. #7450
Chapel Hill, NC 27500-7450
Phone: 919-966-2788
Fax: 919-966-6761