UWSOD Regional Initiatives in Dental Education
The RIDE program was developed by the University of Washington School of Dentistry (UWSOD) to address oral health workforce needs in rural and underserved communities. RIDE is a partnership with Eastern Washington University (EWU), Washington State University (WSU) and the UW School of Medicine WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) program to create educational efficiencies as well as innovations. Dental associations, community health centers, Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), and other stakeholders also play an invaluable role in supporting RIDE activities. RIDE was funded by the Washington State Legislature in 2007. The first cohort of RIDE students graduated in 2012.
The RIDE Educational Model
The RIDE curriculum includes a significant amount of training in rural and underserved areas to increase the likelihood that students will practice in these communities after graduation. RIDE students spend their first year of dental school in Spokane at the Riverpoint Campus of EWU and WSU. The first-year curriculum is equivalent to the UWSOD’s and is taught by faculty from UWSOD, EWU and WSU. Using cutting-edge distance-learning technologies, RIDE students are connected to the UWSOD campus and remotely attend many courses with their Seattle classmates. The first year also includes a four-week community-based rotation in a dental clinic in a rural and underserved community. RIDE students spend the second and third years of dental school at the UWSOD Seattle campus. During their fourth year, RIDE students return to regional dental clinics for 4-6 months, refining their clinical and professional skills under the supervision of UW affiliate faculty preceptors. These experiences increase students’ familiarity and comfort providing dental care for rural and underserved populations and expose them to practice opportunities in these communities. Affiliated sites are part of RIDE’s teledentistry network for continuing education, clinical consultation, and academic support.