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Schools enter into partnerships with community clinics and private practices that care for underserved patients. These facilities must have adequate space, equipment, staff, management, and patient demand for students to work effectively. Clinically competent senior students rotate through these facilities for significant blocks of time (e.g., four weeks) or one or two days a week for several months. Community-based dentists, who receive faculty appointments and formal training, supervise the students during the rotations. Students receive credit for their work in the community settings and are formally evaluated by their preceptors. Schools monitor the performance of their community programs, including the effect on school finances.

Community partners should be involved in program and management planning. These partners have a detailed knowledge of the oral health needs of the community and the target populations; they can guide the development of sustainable community education programs.




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