BIDDEFORD  — Students in the inaugural graduating class at the University of New England College of Dental Medicine have begun the final component of their program: participation in the college’s first community-based externships around New England.

Spanning the final year of dental school, the Community-Based Education program introduces students to clinical practice in areas with limited access to healthcare.

This year, 59 students are participating in up to three 12-week rotations at 36 designated sites across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Deerfield Valley Dental Care of Wilmington, Vermont has been selected as a community-based externship site.

Russell O’Connell (CDM ’17) will be completing his training at Deerfield Valley Dental Care, where he will be supervised by Robert Ruhl, D.M.D, FICD, adjunct assistant professor in the College of Dental Medicine.

Students benefit from this unique opportunity in several ways, as they learn how to provide care for diverse patient populations, attain real-world experience, witness firsthand the need for greater access to oral health care in Northern New England and experience the importance of social responsibility and leadership as a dental professional.

“Deerfield Valley Dental Care is honored to contribute to the education of our next generation of dentists,” said Ruhl. “I look forward to working with Russell as he completes his training and gains thereal-life experience that many students do not receive in a traditional dental school education.”

The University of New England is Maine’s largest private university, an innovative educational community with two distinctive coastal Maine campuses, a vibrant new campus in Tangier, Morocco, and a robust offering of degree and certificate programs online. 

UNE is home to Maine’s only medical and dental schools—part of a comprehensive health education mission built on a pioneering interprofessional approach that includes pharmacy, nursing and an array of allied health professions.

To learn more about the College of Dental Medicine, visit

To apply, visit