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Dental Students Making a Difference in Traverse City Outreach

Dr. Craig Fountain (left) and School of Dentistry dental students outside Grand Traverse Oral Surgery in mid September. With Fountain are dental students (left to right): David Blanchard, Brian Shipton, Chase Walby and Brittany Corbett.

Photo courtesy of Rene Louchart

Dental student Chase Walby with an oral surgery patient at the Garfield Dental Group clinic in Traverse City. On the left is dental assistant Katherine Gordon.

Photo courtesy of Rene Louchart

Dental students and staff at the Garfield Dental Group in Traverse City (left to right): Jane Bates, Brian Shipton, Chase Walby, Brittany Corbett, Dr. Phil Yancho, Dr. Steve Hall, David Blanchard and Dr. Ronald Chao.

Photo courtesy of Rene Louchart

Dental student David Blanchard with a patient in Traverse City in mid September.

Photo courtesy of Rene Louchart


Ann Arbor, MI — October 16, 2013 — Students in the University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s Community-Based Dental Education program are being lauded for their skills and efforts to help those needing oral health care in the Traverse City area.

More than two years ago, U-M dental students began working with the Traverse Health Clinic, a local health agency, and private practitioners in the area to help the underserved and underinsured.  Those efforts build upon the School’s extensive outreach initiatives throughout Michigan. 

Once a month since June, four students head north from U-M to provide care on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  The dental students treat patients at the Grand Traverse Oral Surgery clinic in Traverse City on Thursday; on Fridays and Saturdays, at the Garfield Dental Group.  Overseeing their work are 13 dentist preceptors, 10 of whom are graduates of the U-M School of Dentistry.

“There is tremendous demand for dental care in this area, but our facilities are limited to help those who need it,” said Rene Louchart, dental health care coordinator of the Traverse Health Clinic.  The clinic has provided care to the underserved and underinsured since the 1970s.  “It’s great working with the staff at the these two dental facilities coordinating schedules, managing dental student rotations and arranging patient appointments so we can try to meet the growing needs in our area,” she added.

Since U-M dental students began providing oral health care in Traverse City in early 2011, they have treated more than 260 patients and have provided care and services valued at more than $321,000.  The most common services provided include comprehensive oral examinations, extractions and restorations. 

“The dental students are making a difference,” Louchart said.  “Because of their clinical training and classroom education, more people in our area are receiving much-needed, quality oral health care that they were not able to receive previously.”