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Media Advisory

For immediate use

Aug. 29, 2007

Chancellor’s Carolina Connects visit to focus on oral health care access

As part of his Carolina Connects initiative, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser will visit with FirstHealth of the Carolinas officials and dental practitioners, as well as officials with North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program, to learn how both organizations are advancing oral health care access. Media representatives are invited to cover the visit.

Friday (Aug. 31), 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
FirstHealth Dental Care Center
105 Perry Drive, Southern Pines

FirstHealth officials and dental practitioners including Charles T. Frock, president and chief executive officer; Dr. George D. Bussey, chief medical officer; and Dr. Sharon Harrell, director of the dental care centers, will discuss FirstHealth’s integrated model of dental care delivery.

FirstHealth of the Carolinas is a private, non-governmental, not-for-profit health care network serving 15 counties in the mid-Carolinas. In 1997, FirstHealth school nurses, medical providers and state dental health officials determined dental care as the number one unmet need for underserved children in the region. Based on this information, FirstHealth established a comprehensive dental health program for underserved children from birth to age 18 through dental care centers in Moore, Montgomery and Hoke counties.

An estimated 20 UNC-Chapel Hill dental students have gone to FirstHealth since 1999 for rotations. In 2002, the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry received a five-year grant as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pipeline, Profession and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education initiative. This grant has supported UNC-Chapel Hill in sending dental students to facilities focusing on underserved populations – including FirstHealth in Southern Pines – for training and service.

Carolina alumna Harrell, DDS, MPH, gave the commencement address at the School of Dentistry’s May commencement ceremony. Her speech may be viewed at the following link: http://www.dent.unc.edu/news/archives/2007/2007-05-17_commencement.htm

Also in attendance at the chancellor’s visit will be Jacqueline Wynn, associate director of the North Carolina AHEC Program, and Yanci Evans, director of health careers workforce diversity and director of dental continuing education at Southern Regional AHEC. Southern Regional AHEC is one of nine AHECs statewide. Each of the nine AHECs is connected with a medical school and is a member of the North Carolina AHEC Program, located at Carolina. Southern Regional AHEC is affiliated with Duke University Medical Center, which supports its residency and continuing education programs.

School of Dentistry Dean John N. Williams and Vice Chancellor for Public Service and Engagement Mike Smith will accompany the chancellor on this visit to FirstHealth.

Carolina Connects is an initiative by Chancellor Moeser that takes university officials around North Carolina to highlight the ways in which Carolina serves the state’s people and its communities.

School of Dentistry contact: Deb Saine, (919) 966-8512 or deborah_saine@dentistry.unc.edu
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or susan_houston@unc.edu