From the Lexington Dispatch:
ECU, DCCC partnership brings a smile
Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.
Davidson County Community College continued its impressive efforts to positively impact the area with the announcement East Carolina University will locate one of it community service learning centers here. The center provides dental care to low-income and underserved residents. DCCC and ECU officials announced their partnership Friday before a crowd of about 200 people at the college's Conference Center.
ECU's School of Dental Medicine is opening 10 learning centers throughout the state to provide oral health services to rural and underserved communities. The centers offer a win-win situation for dental students and the communities. The students receive much-needed real-world experience as they prepare to embark upon careers in the dental field. Residents who can't afford dental services benefit by receiving care that they might otherwise go without.
The partnership opens more possibilities for DCCC in the future. The college has always done an excellent job tailoring its programs to the needs of the community. The addition of the learning center might allow the college to add programs in the oral health care field, such as those that train students to become dental hygienists.
One of the more amazing aspects of the announcement was that it means yet another new building will be constructed on the crowded DCCC campus. The college will eventually expand across Interstate 85 Business Loop to its new Link campus, but that remains in the future. The learning center will be built next to the Gee Building in an 8,000-square-foot building. It will offer 16 dental chairs once operational and all the expected dental services: crowns, root canals, filling cavities, bridges and more. Preventative care will be provided as well.
The partnership not only benefits residents and the college, but Davidson Medical Ministries Clinic will also see positive effects. The clinic, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, has offered dental services to this point. Once the ECU center opens, the clinic will be able to discontinue that service. That means money allocated for oral health care can now go to other needs. With money remaining tight in the present economy, anything that helps stretch the clinic's dollars further is welcome news indeed.
Addressing residents' healthcare needs remains a priority in Davidson County. Individual organizations are adding facilities and services and partnering with others to address community health needs. The community service learning center adds an important piece to that effort.