Filling a need in dentistry

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This story is featured in the Spring 2022 edition of HPU magazine. Learn below how HPU’s School of Art and Design prepares students for the real world through experiential learning opportunities.


Find out how North Carolina’s only private dental school will prepare the next generation of dental health leaders.

Dr. Scott De Rossi can see it.

As the founding dean of High Point University’s School of Dentistry and Oral Health, he envisions a gleaming new academic facility, the equipment it will include, and the competitive students who will inhabit it.

De Rossi turns this vision into reality as he lays the foundation for one of the most distinctive dental schools in the country. Less than a year after High Point University announced it would establish North Carolina’s only private dental school, De Rossi has hired faculty, achieved major milestones in the accreditation process, and helped establish the HPU Oral Health Network, which will provide clinical sites for dental students.

It has even begun recruiting a group of top students for an accelerated two+four year program that will begin their HPU journey this fall.

In this Q&A session, De Rossi reveals some exciting behind-the-scenes developments as HPU’s 10th University School takes shape.

Q: What inspired you to become the founding Dean of the School of Dentistry and Oral Health?

To be dental dean is a huge honor as there are only 68 in the United States. Being a founding dean is an incredibly unique privilege, and helping to start and grow a school of dentistry is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The distinction of doing this in a place like HPU under the leadership of President Nido Qubein and his leadership team is truly a dream come true.

Q: How will dental school provide students with top-notch life skills experiences?

Our program will be based on haptic simulation, which is a combination of virtual and augmented reality, as well as high fidelity technology. We are developing an innovative and integrated curriculum that, most importantly, will provide early and comprehensive exposure to team-based care. Because our practice model will integrate students into settings such as community colleges, federally qualified health clinics, and community practices, we prepare our students for how the world will be and how dental practice is changing.

Q: What do you like most about working at HPU?

I think it’s a place that lives its values ​​- values ​​that I share. Many schools and organizations talk about values, but it stops there for them. Not HPU. There is something special about this place, our programs and the people at HPU.

Q: What are your priorities in building this new program?

The word “build” is a good word: create accreditation documents, create a curriculum, create programs, create a faculty and build a building! The priority is to create a program that puts those who need our care at the center of everything we do. My priority is to ensure that every decision will be made with this in mind.

Q: How will you help students develop life skills that they will use to lead successful and meaningful lives after graduating from HPU?

I want to help our students succeed in the classroom, in clinics, and beyond. Most importantly, we want them to succeed regardless of the path they choose. We are designing a contemporary, flexible and agile curriculum to ensure HPU graduates are prepared for the future of oral healthcare. They will be agile healthcare professionals ready to adapt to changing disease demographics, innovative technologies, and ever-emerging healthcare delivery models. We will train caring professionals who will promote better health.

Q: What motivates you the most in training the world’s future dentists?

We know that future oral health professionals won’t just be competing locally or across the country. They will compete in a global arena. Further globalization of health care will be demanding, competitive, turbulent, complex and uncertain. I am driven to prepare our students in every way, to value and advance better health locally and globally in an ever-changing world.

Q: How do you contribute to HPU’s mission to ensure that every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people?

Every person and program on this campus must hold this mission near and dear. These three pillars are so interconnected, and our School of Dentistry and Oral Health will be no exception in advancing this mission. Our students will receive a dental education that is second to none. The addition of a school of health professions like dentistry will enhance the already inspiring environment at HPU.

Q: What is one thing you want students and parents to know?

Learning is all about growth, and there is an impressive growth mindset in HPU’s institutional DNA. While the campus growth has been impressive, the real story for me is the collaborative and innovative environment that fosters an entrepreneurial spirit. Some universities talk about being ambitious, bold and fearless, but HPU lives it and executes it at the highest level. Parents and students need to know that they are receiving a top-notch education that will prepare them for the future world of work.


“HPU’s faculty are phenomenal,” Cromartie said during the fall 2021 homecoming weekend, when she took part in a panel where alumni offered career insights to current students. “Dr. Kelly Sapp was my biology teacher and advisor, and she continued to support me after I graduated from HPU and completed graduate school. Maintain those relationships with your HPU teachers after you graduate. They will be there for you.

Cromartie is unique. She is an HPU alumnus, a practicing dentist, and one of the first official faculty members of High Point University’s School of Dentistry and Oral Health.

Cromartie earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from HPU in 2013. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural Services in Health Care from Wake Forest University, and she earned both her Doctor of Dental Medicine and her Graduate Certificate in General Dentistry with Honors from East Carolina University.

“I am extremely excited to return to HPU and help lay the foundation for the School of Dentistry and Oral Health,” Cromartie said. “HPU is where my quest to become a dentist began as an undergraduate student, so I’m deeply honored to come on board as an inaugural professor.”

As an assistant professor of general dentistry, she will assist in the development of clinical manuals, including those to be used for faculty benchmarking, competency assessment, and accreditation. She will advise students in different specialties of dentistry and oversee clinical sites. She will also advise pre-dental students and be a resource for students looking to learn more about the dental profession.

“I am thrilled to contribute my energy, passion and expertise to provide an extraordinary experience for every patient, student, resident and faculty member. »

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