Check out a few of the ways the UNC Adams School of Dentistry serves the state of North Carolina.

DISC Program

The Dentistry in Service to Communities Program, or DISC, is a community-based extramural service learning program. The program is operated collaboratively by the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and the Adams School of Dentistry.

The DISC program began in the early 1970s and remains a national model for community based service learning. DISC provides students with supervised experiences in the delivery of dental care to vulnerable and underserved populations in both urban and rural settings. All rising fourth-year DDS students are required to participate in two four-week community and/or hospital-based DISC rotations, for a total of eight weeks during the summer between their third and fourth year of study.

Through DISC, students begin to view their patients more holistically as people whose dental needs cannot be separated from the multiple social determinants that impact an individual’s oral health status.

The DISC rotation is part of learners’ fourth-year dental school experience, although optional extramural experiences are available earlier in the curriculum. Rotation sites may include, but are not limited to, county health departments, state institutions and correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, community health centers, military bases, Veterans Administration, and hospitals.

DDS students provide approximately $3.5 million in dental services to underserved populations in North Carolina through the DISC program each year.

Free Dental Clinics

Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) holds free clinics organized and run by UNC-CH medical, dental and other health professional students. Dental SHAC occurs most weeks while students are in session on Wednesday nights.

The Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) Vidas de Esperanza Clinic strives to spread awareness of Hispanic oral health needs and issues, to provide dental services and oral health education to local Hispanic community, to emphasize the importance of familiarity with Hispanic culture and patient profiles, and to provide a voice for the Hispanic students and oral health professionals at UNC-CH.

The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) CAARE’s Clinic was founded to increase access to care and provide quality urgent and preventative oral health care to the underserved population in the Durham community. The clinic seeks to not only provide treatment, but vital health education including dental disease prevention, oral hygiene instruction, nutrition counseling, and overall health and wellness screening. The SNDA CAARE’s clinic operates in Durham on most Tuesday nights.

The Samaritan Health Center (SHC) Dental Clinic is a faith-based, Christian, free dental clinic that operates of the Durham Rescue Mission. The UNC-CH School of Dentistry students and faculty members partner with SHC to hold weekly clinics on Thursday nights.

Service and Leadership

Schweitzer Fellowships Program is a leadership program and community service opportunity for graduate health professional students. Fellows create and develop inventions to improve the health and well-being of communities throughout the state. The Adams School of Dentistry Schweitzer Fellows have led many clinical and education projects which provide measurable impact. The application deadline is February 1 of each year.

The Adams School of Dentistry’s student chapter of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, is a student-led volunteer organization whose mission is to serve the underserved populations in North Carolina through dentistry. AAPHD members include primarily dental students, but also students from dental hygiene, advanced education and dental assisting programs.

Adams Rural Oral Health and Wellness Scholars Program

The Adams School of Dentistry partnered with the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) to establish the Adams Rural Oral Health and Wellness Scholars Program, called AROWS. This initiative allows UNC dental students who are interested in practicing in a rural area of North Carolina to provide care to the underserved in western NC by engaging in a long-term rotation in Asheville, NC and Columbus, NC.

Applications are due December 31 annually. Click here to learn more and to apply.

Questions and required forms may be submitted to