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The RIDE story on video


UWSOD Regional Initiatives in Dental Education

The Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program is a specific educational track of the University of Washington School of Dentistry (UWSOD) that trains dentists to meet the needs of rural and underserved populations in the state and region.

An innovative and interprofessional program, RIDE is operated in conjunction with Eastern Washington University (EWU) and the UW School of Medicine WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) program in Spokane. Dental associations, community health centers, Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), and other stakeholders also play an invaluable role in supporting RIDE activities.

The UWSOD RIDE Program is a cost-effective, scalable model for increasing the number of dentists trained to meet the needs of rural and underserved populations. By building on the existing educational structure in Spokane and the community health centers across the state, RIDE increases access to quality dental care in remote communities, enhances the diversity of state and regional healthcare workers, and improves the health care system by training team-oriented professionals.

RIDE was funded by the Washington State Legislature in 2007 and the first cohort of RIDE students graduated in 2012. Since then, it has returned over 70 percent of its graduates to practice in rural and underserved areas of Washington and the region.

As a regional leader in educational excellence, RIDE has been awarded the 2017 William J. Gies Award for Vision, Innovation, and Achievement for its outstanding contributions to oral health and dental education.

The RIDE Educational Model

The RIDE curriculum includes a significant amount of training in rural and underserved areas to expand students’ familiarity and comfort in providing dental care for rural and underserved populations. This hands-on educational opportunity increases the likelihood that students will practice in these communities after graduation.

RIDE Curriculum Overview
Phase Description
Orientation and Summer (Seattle) In the summer before first year, RIDE students come to Seattle for a weeklong Orientation followed by five-weeks of Intro to Clinical Dentistry and Biomedical Foundations courses. These courses are a great opportunity to explore the Seattle campus, connect with the Seattle cohort, meet upper-level RIDE students, and learn the basics of dentistry.
1st Year (Spokane) After summer quarter, RIDE students attend dental school at the EWU Spokane campus where UWSOD delivers high quality dental education through both in-person instruction and distance learning modalities. RIDE students at EWU are remotely connected to the UWSOD campus and attend courses live with their Seattle classmates. Small group and interprofessional learning facilitated by EWU faculty enable an excellent student to faculty ratio while in Spokane.
RUOP Rotation (Regional) The summer after their first year, RIDE students go on a four-week clinical rotation (RUOP) at an affiliated community health center in central or eastern Washington.
2nd Year (Spokane) Following their RUOP rotations, RIDE students return to EWU Spokane for distance learning and in-person pre-clinical education at RIDE’s state-of-the-art dental simulation lab in Spokane, WA.
3rd and 4th year (Seattle) Students spend their entire third year and summer and fall quarters of 4th year at the UWSOD in Seattle and benefit from robust clerkship and comprehensive care clinical training.
Extended Rotation (Regional) During winter and spring quarters of 4th year, RIDE students experience an intensive, five-month clinical rotation, usually at the same community health clinic, where they refine their clinical and professional skills under the mentorship of UW affiliate faculty.

RIDE in the news!

Rural Health Information HUB (RHIhub): Feature story on RIDE program with new information on RIDE program expansion and updates.

Insight Into Diversity article details how the RIDE Program Boosts Rural Dental Health. Insight Into Diversity magazine is the leader in advancing best practices in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in higher education.

Gonzaga News reports on how RIDE Brings Smiles to Rural and Underserved Communities. Gonzaga in partnership with the UW School of Medicine collaborate with RIDE on health education in Spokane.

UW News features UW rural dentistry program helping to fill vital need across Washington. Article includes video, interviews with students and faculty and an interactive map.

More RIDE updates and news.