Dental Schools, Industry Team Up To Create Innovation Centers
Center for Research & Education in Technology seeks applicants

January 17, 2020

By Judy Jakush

Tech classroom: Dr. Andres Pappa (standing), director of the Regions CRET Innovation Suite, talks with dental students, from left, Erin Coggin, Collin Peterson and Heather Wise, in the suite’s conference room.

The Center for Research & Education in Technology is encouraging dental schools to find out how to participate in its program and learn about the benefits to the school and its students.

So far CRET, which is based in Westerly, Rhode Island, has partnered with four dental schools in creating innovation centers: Loma Linda University, University of Missouri – Kansas City, West Virginia University and the University of Mississippi. Another center is in the planning stages with the University of Florida.

“CRET is always looking into opportunities to present students with the latest technology,” said Mia Cassell, CRET executive director.

Dr. Edward Rossomando, CRET president, says feedback from students shows they like the ability to use and touch the latest technology in dentistry.

“Students have said that they really feel like a dentist when working in an innovation center,” he said.

The School of Dentistry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center last summer held the grand opening of its Regions Center for Research and Education in Technology Innovation Suite. The June 21, 2019, ceremony marked the addition of the fourth innovation center to the CRET partnership.

Dr. Rossomando said some of the schools are using their innovation center as a recruitment tool, emphasizing that students have access to the latest in technology integrated into the curriculum.

Each school has close to $1 million in new equipment. Industry provides new equipment and asks that the participating university provide the space and cover renovation costs for a five- to six- chair dental office modeled on a private practice setting.

“I am very biased,” admitted Dr. Rossomando, “but it is a pleasure and a delight to see the way faculty and students have responded and embraced the innovation centers.”

CRET was founded in 2004 to provide dental students and faculty the latest in equipment and products for the treatment of patients. Dental schools interested in CRET can visit its website at or contact the program by email at

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