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East Carolina University’s dental school partners with University of Florida to serve rural areas

A Black woman having a dental check up.
Anna Shvets
A Black woman having a dental check up.

The dental schools at East Carolina University and the University of Florida received a research grant aimed at providing healthcare to rural areas in North Carolina.

East Carolina University and the University of Florida are partnering together through a dental grant aimed at serving people in underserved rural areas.

The DOOR award is a five-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. DOOR stands for Development of Opportunities for Research. Students who are a part of the dental program will conduct two types of research projects, said David Paquette, professor and department chair of surgical Sciences at ECU’s School of Dental Medicine

“One is focused on the detection of pre-diabetes and diabetes in the dental setting,” Paquette said. “The other project focuses on pain perception, following dental procedures in patients with chronic pain syndromes.”

Paquette added that the projects will give researchers a deeper understanding of some of the health care issues in rural parts of North Carolina.

“We are here to really improve the oral and general health of North Carolinians reducing disparities in health and also alleviating access to care barriers,” he said.

ECU is one of three dental schools in the state, along with UNC Chapel Hill and High Point University. High Point held a groundbreaking in September for the Workman School of Dental Medicine. According to a release, the dental school will welcome its first cohort of students in fall of 2024.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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