LMU’s Terese-Koch among top 25 most influential people in dentistry

Published 7:35 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dr. Denise Terese-Koch

LMU-College of Dental Medicine Dean Recognized by Incisal Edge

Dr. Denise Terese-Koch, dean of the developing Lincoln Memorial University-College of Dental Medicine (LMU-CDM), has been recognized by Incisal Edge magazine as one of “The 32 Most Influential People in Dentistry.”

Terese-Koch is ranked no. 21 in the magazine’s fifth annual ranking of dentistry’s top players. The list includes scientists, practitioners, researchers, influencers and even a few celebrities. Incisal Edge cited LMU’s mission of expanding access to care and Terese-Koch’s track record for doing just that, as reasons to watch Terese-Koch and the program she is building.

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“LMU is at the forefront of developing programs that not only train the next generation of health care workers but also deliver practitioners to medically underserved communities to make those areas stronger,” Terese-Koch told the magazine.

LMU and Terese-Koch are well on their way to launching another pioneering program in Appalachia. The University has 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) and aims to welcome the inaugural class of the Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) program as well as the Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program in fall 2022 at the LMU-Tower in Knoxville. Earlier this spring the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) House of Delegates granted LMU-CDM provisional ADEA membership.

In large part due to Terese-Koch’s fundraising efforts, LMU is already expanding access to dental care in the region. In March, the University announced its partnership with The Center for Research and Education in Technology, Inc. (CRET) to design, build and equip a digital technology Innovation Center (IC) on the sixth floor of the LMU-Tower. LMU’s IC will be designed as a private practice dental office with equipment for 11 treatment rooms and all the associated technology. LMU’s IC, which will initially be staffed by faculty, will allow the University to provide dental services to the public on a sliding scale. Terese-Koch, who holds a license to practice in Tennessee, 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 2020 and another 50 in March 2021.

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.

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.