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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
ECI (Seattle) RIDE students come to Seattle for a week long Orientation followed by a 5-week Intro to Clinical Dentistry course. This is a great opportunity to explore the Seattle campus, connect with upper-level RIDE students, meet students from other RIDE cohorts, and learn the basics of clinical dentistry.
1st year (Spokane) After Intro to Clinical Dentistry, RIDE students spend their first year of dental school at the EWU Spokane campus where UWSOD delivers high quality dental education. Using cutting-edge distance-learning technologies RIDE students are connected to the UWSOD campus and remotely attend many courses with their Seattle classmates. In addition, small group learning facilitated by EWU faculty enable an excellent student to faculty ratio while in Spokane.
RUOP The summer after their first year, RIDE students spend 4-weeks rotating at an affiliated community health center in Central or Eastern Washington.
2nd and 3rd Year
Currently, students spend their 2nd and 3rd years of dental school at the UWSOD in Seattle and benefit from our robust clerkship and comprehensive care clinical training models.

NOTE: The opportunity to spend the 2nd year at the EWU Spokane campus is in progress, pending funding.

4th Year (Seattle)
+ Extended Rotation
After completing their fall quarter at the UWSOD in Seattle, RIDE students spend their winter and spring quarters at an affiliated community health center in Central or Eastern Washington refining their clinical and professional skills under the supervision of UW affiliate faculty.

RIDE in the news!

Bridging the Divide: A Call for Better Rural Oral Health Access: Linkedin Delta Dental spotlight on the impact of the RIDE Program on workforce development in rural and underserved areas. 

RIDE To the Rescue: Our Regional Initiatives in Dental Education program is making an impact in Washington communities struggling with access to care.

Rural Health Information HUB (RHIhub): Rural Monitor feature story about RIDE graduates in their rural communities.

Investing in Distance Learning and Telemedicine: RIDE receives a $1 million grant to install interactive video conferencing equipment at rural clinical sites. 

More RIDE updates and news.