Elena Riccio Leach installed as director of the International Dentist Education Program
As the IDEP director, Riccio Leach oversees the admission and training of international dentists pursuing their dental license in the United States. The two-year program starts with an introductory prep course, featuring online training to update dental knowledge and hands-on training tailored to enhance clinical skills. After completing the course, participants seamlessly join traditional third-year dental students for the remainder of their studies. The program enables students to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and challenge state or regional board examinations, allowing them to practice in the United States.
"As an alumna of the International Dentist Education Program, the dream of being a dentist in the United States was once my own. Now, as the new director, and together with my team, I am dedicated to building on the legacy of excellence set by my predecessors, fostering innovation and providing the support and resources needed to turn those dreams into successful realities for each student in our program,” said Riccio Leach.
Riccio Leach graduated from the School of Dentistry of the Second University of Napoli, Italy, and afterward worked in private practice as a general dentist for nine years. Following her time in private practice, she joined the Italian Navy as a dental officer and during her military service, she earned her master's degree in orthodontics at the University of Milano, Italy.
In 2016, she obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and Texas dental license through the International Dentist Education Program (IDEP) at UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Dentistry. Since 2018, Riccio Leach has served as a full-time clinical assistant professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry. She is also the director of the umbrella clinical patient management course for third-year dental students and a provider at the UT Dentistry Faculty Practice Clinic.