LMU developing college of dental medicine

Published 7:23 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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To be located in Knoxville at LMU Tower

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) President Clayton Hess has announced the University is developing a College of Dental Medicine and applied for initial accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) earlier this month.

“This program is game-changing for LMU and the East Tennessee region,” said LMU Board of Trustees Chairman Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk. “We are building something truly special by providing the most comprehensive offerings of medical programs in the region. Now the talent here in East Tennessee doesn’t have to leave to become dentists, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, occupational and physical therapists or veterinarians, and there is more to come.”

LMU has appointed Denise Terese-Koch, DDS, FAGD, MBA, to serve as the founding dean of the LMU-College of Dental Medicine. She has been tasked with developing a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) program as well as an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program. Both programs will be offered in Knoxville at the LMU Tower. LMU anticipates welcoming an inaugural class in both programs in the Fall of 2022.

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Terese-Koch joined LMU in August of 2020, having previously served as chair of dental education at South College in Nashville, Tennessee, where she developed and implemented three dental programs. Terese-Koch has extensive experience as a comprehensive general dentist and vast knowledge of general dentistry, dental education, program development, and implementation.

“I believe the oral cavity is the intersection between medicine and dentistry and is a window into the general health of the patient,” Terese-Koch said. “Lincoln Memorial University is at the forefront of developing programs that not only train the next generation of health care providers but deliver practitioners to medically underserved communities to make those areas stronger. This is a dynamic institution and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Central to any dental curriculum is experiential clinical learning. LMU plans to operate a public clinic in a building adjacent to the LMU Tower where faculty and students will provide dental care on a sliding scale for underserved populations in Knoxville and beyond. Terese-Koch holds a license to practice in Tennessee and has already played an integral role in bringing a free dental clinic to the LMU main campus. The Appalachian Miles for Smiles mobile units, along with volunteer dentists and hygienists served over 70 students and staff in November 2022. The group is planning a second clinic on the main campus March 29 and 30.

Terese-Koch holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) from Loyola University of Chicago School of Dentistry and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Saint Xavier University in Chicago. She completed a general practice residency at Loyola Medical Center and earned a certificate in hospital dentistry in 1993. Terese-Koch spent the next 21 years in private practice in the western suburbs of Chicago. She entered academia in 2014, as an assistant professor in the department of general dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center College of Dentistry and was the director of faculty practice. She went on to serve as associate professor and develop and direct the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program (AEGD) at Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center before joining South College in 2017. At South College, she developed a dental assisting program, an Associate and Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene program and directed the AEGD. She also served as professor and chair of the Department of Dental Education.

Terese-Koch received a Master of Business Administration from Belhaven University in 2018 and is in the capstone phase of earning a Doctor of Education from Liberty University. She serves as a site visitor for CODA and is a licensure examiner for the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments. She and her husband, Loren, share three children, Dennis, Lori, and Jeni.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies.  The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at admissions@LMUnet.edu.