State Relations

August 6, 2013

RIDE students bolster Eastern Washington’s dental health

The UW School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program is helping improve access to dental care in rural and underserved areas of the state, especially in Eastern Washington:

Spending the spring before graduation with your hands in strangers’ mouths might not be every student’s cup of tea. Kaitlin Poppe, however, couldn’t have enjoyed herself more.

Dr. Poppe, who received her dental degree from the University of Washington in June, spent the spring at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Nob Hill clinic in Yakima in a clinical rotation for the UW School of Dentistry. The rotation was part of the school’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, which was launched in 2007 with state funds. In addition to Dr. Poppe, UW dental students fanned out to rotations at community clinics in Colville, Moses Lake, Spokane, Lake Spokane, Wenatchee, Othello and Okanogan.

“Every day I was treating someone who otherwise would not receive care. Every day I knew I was making a difference in someone’s life, and I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than that,” Dr. Poppe said.

Read more at the School of Dentistry’s RIDE updates page.