ECU dental school receives $3.1 million grant to improve special needs care

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) The East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine has received a $3.1 million grant to enhance resident training in the care of patients with special needs in eastern North Carolina and across the state.

The award from the Health Resources and Services Administration, one of the largest in the dental school’s history, will focus on improving dental care for pediatric and elderly patients as well as those with mobility issues and other complex health problems and those with mental, emotional and behavioral challenges.

“This grant highlights our mission and strong community partnerships,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the School of Dental Medicine. “It positions our residents and future dentists to work in rural communities and learn to engage and respond to patients’ complex health challenges.”

The five-year project, titled “ECU Leadership Training in Special Needs Population Oral Health Care,” will address three specific goals — assessing and treating the needs of vulnerable populations, expanding pediatric dentistry training to a rural location and developing tools and training for population health management.

The project will include academic input in the areas of pediatrics, nursing, pediatric dentistry, general dentistry and dental public health.

Pediatric dentistry training will be expanded to a rural site in Hertford County.

Residents from the existing Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program will be offered a second year of training that emphasizes oral health care delivery for vulnerable populations.

The project will be based at Ross Hall with some components at the school’s community service learning center in Ahoskie and other sites around the state.

The Eastern Area Health Education Center and the Department of Dental Hygiene at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, N.C., will also participate in the project.

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