A collaboration between the University of Louisville and West Kentucky Community and Technical College will allow students from both institutions to work together in a dental clinic while providing services to residents of the Jackson Purchase region.
Dr. T. Gerard Bradley, dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry (ULSD), joined WKCTC President Anton Reece and Carrie Hopper, dean of WKCTC’s Allied Health and Personal Services and dental assisting program coordinator, for the announcement today in Paducah.
A memorandum of understanding between UofL and WKCTC allows the dental school to operate the mutually beneficial dental clinic on the second floor of the Anderson Technical Building on the WKCTC campus.
Partnerships like the one with WKCTC provide dental services to communities, an essential component of UofL’s dental curricula, Bradley said.
“Our goal is to develop a network of community-based partner clinics in a variety of locations across Kentucky. These externship sites enhance our clinical curriculum while meeting the oral health needs of underserved populations,” he said.
Reece said the UofL / WKCTC partnership is historic. “We are excited to partner and collaborate with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry to provide needed dental services to the community and our region.”
“Collaboration with WKCTC strengthens our community engagement in the western part of Kentucky and we are proud to join with the college to establish a dental clinic in Paducah,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “The important work of the university is not only educating future health care professionals, but also teaching students to become culturally competent providers.”
The clinic will have a full-time licensed dentist managed by ULSD, and will be a clinical learning site for fourth-year UofL dental students. WKCTC will provide dental assistants from its existing dental assisting program along with use of existing dental equipment and chairs.
“Having the opportunity for our dental assisting students to work with UofL dental students will provide valuable learning experiences,” said Hopper. “This collaboration will help serve the underinsured, underserved population in our service region. I am beyond excited to begin this partnership with UofL School of Dentistry.”
ULSD will provide expert dental oversight, supervision and management of the dental clinic operations, including the establishment of all dental fees, billing and collection.
UofL is engaged in a similar collaboration with the Red Bird Mission and Red Bird Clinic located in Beverly, Ky. Dental students work under the direction of a local dentist, providing the students an opportunity to treat patients in a rural community and culture. Students also rotate through similar externship sites in urban settings, including the Shawnee Dental Clinic located in an underserved area of Louisville.
“These experiences truly teach our students to become confident, compassionate dental providers,” Bradley said.