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UTHSC College of Dentistry Expands Clinical Presence in East Tennessee

Fourth-year dental students Hope Gurley and Matthew Cornett, right, are with Ryan Hale, DDS, and Dani Barnes, DDS, at the Interfaith Health Center for Dental Services in Knoxville. 

Continuing its mission to expand its clinical reach across the state, the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has established two new student clinical rotation sites in Crossville and Knoxville.

“Clinical rotations are excellent opportunities for our students,” said Orpheus Triplett, DDS, assistant dean for extramural clinical education and community service. “Not only do the students get exposed to different populations, but they also get experience in the true pace of daily private practice work. They build that speed and resilience.”

In Knoxville, the college is proud to open a new rotation with two students present full time. Two fourth-year dental students travel to Knoxville every two weeks to assist in the clinic with supervision from dental faculty. The clinic operates in partnership with the Interfaith Clinic of Knoxville. This Knoxville rotation will give students experience with urban populations that are underserved.

“An additional bonus to this rotation is that the dental students spend a couple of days at the General Practice Residency Program at the University of Tennessee Medical Center,” said James Ragain, DDS, dean of the College of Dentistry. “This is the only such rotation where our students get this opportunity to experience hospital-based dental care for an extended period.”

The clinical rotation location in Crossville has been in the pilot stage since Fall 2022. The rotation spans six-weeks in the fall and again in the spring. For three two-week periods in each season, two fourth-year dental students assist in the clinic with faculty supervision. In the future, the college hopes to expand the Crossville rotation to a full-time rotation.

The college’s existing student rotation sites include Union City, Bristol, and Chattanooga. With the addition of Crossville and Knoxville, the college’s goal to provide supportive dental care to all Tennesseans progresses.