Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 11, 2013

School of Dentistry leaders meet with SW Va. professionals

BLUEFIELD, Va. — The leadership of the Bluefield School of Dentistry opened positive channels of communication with the Southwest Virginia dental community last week, and emerged energized from a day of meetings that appeared to clear up some misunderstandings concerning the school’s mission and its role in the regional dental care community.

“It has been a day of great conversations and we’re all thankful that the conversations went the way they did,” Dr. David Olive, BC president said following a day-long series of meetings in Bluefield, Va., and Wytheville, Va. “Today allowed us to have the communications with the Virginia Dental Association and the VDA Southwest Virginia Region that we would have liked to have had much earlier.”

Olive explained that the college and Tazewell County Board of Supervisors kept much of the initial stages of the dental school vetting process under wraps because of the highly competitive process of locating a dental school in the region. He said that some other Southwest Virginia communities as well as at least one out-of-state institution were considering the same kind of a development.

“It was competitive with other areas,” Jim Spencer, Tazewell County administrator said. “We had to keep our ducks in a row before we were prepared to make an announcement. Because of the competition, we had to keep it hush-hush. We wanted it to be located here in Tazewell County, so we worked hard on it before the public announcement.”

On Friday morning, Spencer, Olive and other BC representatives as well as Charles Stacy, Eastern District representative with the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors had a breakfast meeting with Dr. Kirk M. Norbo, D.M.D., president of the Virginia Dental Association.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Stacy said. “I think it cleared up a lot of Dr. Norbo’s concerns. It was just a positive meeting all around.”

Later in the day, Olive and Spencer addressed members of the VDA Southwest Virginia Region in Wytheville.

“It was, I think, a very fruitful 3-hour meeting,” Olive said. “There were close to 100 dental professionals attending the meeting. That setting gave us a better opportunity to tell our story. Our goal is to hold costs down and where we have clinics closed in communities, to get them staffed again. We want to work with the dental professionals of the region to improve the oral health of everybody here. We feel it’s a win-win for everyone. The opportunity here is so unique.”

Olive said that the BC School of Dentistry hopes to follow the successful models that the Appalachian School of Law and the Appalachian College of Pharmacy have brought success to those two institutions of higher learning. He said that the clinical facilities of the region can all work together to achieve shared goals.

“It was a great afternoon of sharing,” Olive said of the meeting in Wytheville.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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