Bradenton, FL (July 17, 2015) – The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine fourth class of 100 students began their journey to becoming dentists this week.
Just three years ago, LECOM welcomed its inaugural class at the School of Dental Medicine at 4800 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. in Bradenton, FL. This year marks the School’s first year with full enrollment of 400 students.
“Members of the Class of 2019 are an exceptional group coming from all over the country with high grade point averages and dental aptitude test scores” said Anton Gotlieb, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of the LECOM School of Dental Medicine. “The students have worked hard to be here and in four short years will enter the dental profession and begin providing oral health care to that portion of the population that has limited access to care, fulfilling the mission of LECOM and its School of Dental Medicine.”
First year students begin their education with an introduction and overview of the dental profession including presentations on Cultural Competency and patient communication. Following this, the students begin their preclinical instruction in the simulation clinic and basic sciences through a small group Problem Based Learning (PBL) curriculum.
The opportunity for problem-based instruction was one of the reasons JW Felch, an architect from St. Petersburg, chose to apply to LECOM to begin his second career. “I like the PBL aspect and hands-on clinical hours were of great interest to me” said Felch. One of three Class of 2019 students from the Gulf Coast, Felch had been volunteering at a free clinic in St. Petersburg where he developed his desire to provide dental services to those who could not otherwise afford it.
Pharnette Richemond has lived in Bradenton since age 4 and is attending LECOM because of proximity, opportunity to meet people with the same passion for a career, and level of preparation LECOM provides for when students graduate and start work.
Oscar Hernandez moved to Bradenton from NJ his junior year of high school. His father is a local dentist, and Oscar was attracted to LECOM because of proximity and the opportunities for community involvement.
Components of the dental curriculum also include faculty directed self-study of gross anatomy, direct comprehensive patient care in the first year, and training in a dental treatment simulation-clinic.
The curriculum spans 48-weeks and second-year third-year, students are currently working in the LECOM School of Dental Medicine patient offices, providing comprehensive dental care to the community, starting with fabricating complete dentures, cleanings, periodontal (gum) treatments, single crowns and simple extractions and dental treatments as the students gain more experience.
The entire fourth year is devoted to training at community-based primary care clinics in DeFuniak Springs, FL and Erie, PA.
The LECOM School of Dental Medicine features classroom space and a 115-chair dental clinic. Students and faculty work with the Bradenton community to provide care to residents who face challenges in obtaining needed dental care by serving them at the on-campus patient clinic and in the future at community-based, primary care dental clinics.
The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) is the nation’s largest medical college and, with Millcreek Community Hospital and the Medical Associates of Erie clinical practices, is the core of the only Academic Health Center in the osteopathic profession. LECOM Health, this highly innovative health care and education system, strives to add to the quality of life of our neighbors by bringing total health care to the community. LECOM is preparing the next generation of physicians, dentists and pharmacists at campuses in Erie and Greensburg, Pa. and in Bradenton, Fla.
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