Dentistry In Service to Communities (DISC)
DIRECTOR: Dr. Rick Mumford
Welcome to the Department of Dental Ecology's – Dentistry In Service to Communities (DISC) web page. The Dentistry In Service to Communities Program or DISC is a community-based, dental student extramural rotations program. The program is operated collaboratively by the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and the UNC School of Dentistry.
The DISC extramural program has two primary goals:
- To expose students to a diverse patient population for clinical care, including those with special needs – which students would be unlikely to encounter in the dental school clinic - but which are represented in communities where dentistry is practiced
- To give students an opportunity to observe and participate in a variety of health care delivery systems which are community-based
As they become practitioners of dentistry, it is important for students to understand that there are many people, agencies and institutions providing health care in the community, and that dentistry is an integral part of this system of health care. Students are challenged to consider their roles as a part of this system and how they may contribute to or improve the oral health of their assigned community.
Some students are assigned to Federal and State institutions with very specific patient populations. Others will be assigned to county public health departments, public or not-for-profit hospitals, and U.S. military installations. In each instance the delivery system is viewed from several aspects, i.e. provider, consumer, organizational setting, services, financing mechanisms, facilities and administration.
The skills learned in the management and treatment of patients while on extramural clinical rotations often provides a level of confidence for students to meet the needs of their patient population upon returning to dental school, pursing advanced training or entering professional practice.
With health care undergoing vast changes, and the level of dental underserved or uninsured rising, it is important for students to understand the oral health care needs in North Carolina, nationally and internationally. Regardless of a student's ultimate career choice, the experiences of the DISC extramural rotations program will broaden the students' outlook and enable them to make more informed judgments about the profession of dentistry.
A wide variety of community-based rotation experiences are available. DISC operates over 180 rotation sites in North Carolina, and across the U.S. A limited number of international sites are also available.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
DISC Program Manager: CommunityServices@dentistry.unc.edu