Future dentists find new way to learn

The Kirksville Regional Economic Development Incorporated (K-REDI) board got a briefing Tuesday on the progress of the new Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health that is currently under construction in Kirksville.

The group heard from Chris Halliday, DDS, MPH, the dean of A.T. Still University's new dental school.

He told them about the innovative new learning model the school will use instead of the typical method of having an instructor in front of the class lecturing the students while they take notes.

Halliday said it's a much more interactive style of learning.

"The students will learn in somewhat of a group setting,â?? said Halliday. â??The students will still do reading on their own time in the evening or on the weekends, but then they get together in groups, discuss the course content, and the instructors are there more as facilitators to help clarify points or questions that the students may have and also to facilitate the discussion amongst groups of students.â??

Halliday said this model of learning has proven very successful at ATSU's Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health in Mesa.

Staffers in Kirksville are currently working on putting the curriculum together.

Halliday said ATSUâ??s goal is to increase access to dental care for underserved population groups.

â??We strive to train dentists whoâ??ll be â?¦ aware of the needs of entire communities, not just the individual in the dental chair,â?? said Halliday.

Construction on Kirksville's new dental school is on schedule to be finished by the end of April 2013.

The first 40 students will start classes in mid-July 2013.