MUSC Names Dental School in Honor of Dr. James B. Edwards
New clinical and teaching facility dedicated to service, guidance of Dr. Edwards
The Medical University of South Carolina has re-named South Carolina’s only dental school as a lasting tribute to James B. Edwards, D.M.D., MUSC President Emeritus. This dedication comes on the heels of opening the new clinical education center, located on Bee Street, to students and patients. Edwards has contributed much to South Carolina and the country in his long-standing career, as a dedicated oral surgeon, state senator, governor, U.S. presidential cabinet member and MUSC president, and was honored by MUSC faculty, staff, students and dental medicine alumni during the school’s alumni weekend festivities.
“With the state's only dental school, MUSC plays a critical role in providing the dentists who serve all South Carolinians,” said Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC President. “With the opening of the new building, our students are being taught in the most advanced facility of its kind in the country. The school also honors the legacy of Jim Edwards, who began his career as an oral surgeon and ended it by leading MUSC through a remarkable two decades of growth and development."
The 120,000-square-foot building houses 164 dental operatories, which were designed through careful collaboration with faculty and staff. The goals were to provide rich learning environments, flexibility for growth and change, and comfortable, efficient clinical spaces.
The entire facility was designed, built and equipped to achieve a higher level of efficiency, said Dr. Mark Barry, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.
“Efficiency is important for reasons that go beyond financial considerations,” said Barry. “In our case, it strengthens the educational experience in that it allows students to see more patients, which in turn gives them more opportunities to treat a broader range of cases.”
All the dental school’s clinics are now housed under one roof, making it much easier for patients to undergo multiple procedures with fewer delays. Scheduling and patient flow already have been vastly improved.
The school has replaced its X-ray machines with digital radiography, allowing dentists to scan and assess patients instantaneously. It also is one of the few schools in the country using CAD/ CAM technology to fashion dental restorations, reducing the time required to produce a crown from three weeks to about 45 minutes. All these improvements will be important as the school seeks to boost enrollment and recruit faculty.
“When you combine the fact that this is the country’s newest school and our historical reputation for excellence, you can see that this will be a huge draw for both faculty and students,” he said.
For the first time in years, the school also is in a position to add new residency programs. Next summer, the college will add a new endodontics residency, and plans are underway to reinstate a general dentistry residency that was discontinued several years ago due to space shortages.
“These are people who would have left South Carolina for their residencies,” said Barry. “Now that they can get that training here, they will be much more likely to practice here in South Carolina.”