Driving Dental Care

With more than 10,000 patients served, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry’s Mobile Dental Clinic (MDC) ensures its students are getting invaluable experience—while pearly whites throughout Minnesota are getting top notch care.


Community outreach is an important and required component of the School of Dentistry's curriculum.  Each year, dental, dental therapy and dental hygiene students are assigned to clinical rotations in the Twin Cites' metro area and Greater Minnesota.  One of those rotations is aboard the MDC, developed in partnership with Minnesota-based UCare. “A health plan and a public school partnering to address underserved health populations throughout the state is a unique concept,” said Mobile Dental Program Director Dr. Paul Schulz, who began his leadership of the MDC in 2002.


The current clinic is a 43-foot, fully accessible bus complete with three dental chairs, chair-side digital radiography, and an electronic health record system. MDC Services Coordinator Mary Thomas works with county representatives, community organizations, and clinics to schedule hosting sites and meet the logistical challenges of providing care in multiple locations. “The win-win benefit of educating students while showing them what it’s really like to practice and bring needed care to UCare members is an important opportunity,” said Schulz.