Colleen Davis, a 2018 D.M.D. candidate, received a four-year scholarship from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to attend the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (ECU SDM).
The NHSC, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides financial, professional and educational resources to medical, dental and mental and behavioral health care providers who bring their skills to areas of the United States with limited access to health care.
Ms. Davis entered ECU SDM in August 2014. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 with a B.S. in Sociology and a minor in Southern Studies. She completed two years of post-baccalaureate studies at Western Carolina University (WCU). While at WCU, she worked as a Career Graduate Fellow in the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. She also served as an advanced science and math learning consultant at Southwestern Community College’s Learning Assistance Center.
“I applied to the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program because I was drawn to its mission of enhancing access to care. I believe that all communities need resources to help maintain oral health, and I want to provide those resources directly as a dental professional,” says Ms. Davis. “It is an honor to belong to the national network of health care providers who have been assisted by the program, and I consider it a privilege to represent the NHSC at the School of Dental Medicine.”
Ms. Davis grew up in Sylva, NC about 45 miles west of Asheville. Sylva and many other communities in the Blue Ridge Mountains are considered health professional shortage areas. “My hope is to complete a D.M.D. at East Carolina and return to the Sylva area as a primary care dentist,” says Ms. Davis.
In June 2014, ECU SDM opened a community service learning center in Sylva, where fourth-year students, advanced dental education residents and faculty dentists help meet the oral health needs of Jackson and surrounding counties. Davis hopes to begin serving Sylva patients while completing a rotation at the dental center during her fourth year.