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Around the Dental Education Community - September 2011

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 University of Minnesota Receives $3.5 Million from Delta Dental of Minnesota Trust  

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry has received a $3.5 million gift, the largest in the school’s history, from Delta Dental of Minnesota Trust. The gift will support the construction of the state’s only hospital-based pediatric dental clinic.

The clinic—named the University of Minnesota Children’s Dental Clinic, made possible by Delta Dental of Minnesota—will be located adjacent to the new University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital on the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. The hospital opened in April 2011, and the children’s dental clinic is anticipated to open in April 2012.

“The clinic will be a regional resource for children with complex medical, developmental, and emotional needs, both on an inpatient and outpatient basis,” says Dr. Judith A. Buchanan, Interim Dean of the School of Dentistry. “It will be home to our advanced education program in pediatric dentistry and offer our dental residents a rich educational experience in an environment of coordinated care, working with pediatricians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and dieticians.”

“Every dollar will be invested in bricks and mortar, and the investment will be multiplied many times over through improved oral health for children,” said Delta Dental of Minnesota Trust Board Chair Mike Howe. “We are very pleased to help bring this great new resource for Minnesota children to life.”

The state-of-the-art dental clinic for children will feature 14 dental operatories designed to accommodate a pediatric patient and a family member or caregiver, along with a team of pediatric dental professionals. For pediatric dental residents, the clinic will provide opportunities for bedside evaluation of hospitalized patients, as well as access to both the hospital’s pediatric operating rooms and its pediatric emergency room.

The clinic will also offer opportunities for interprofessional collaboration and learning in pediatric patient care, education, and research for medical and dental residents and faculty within the university’s Academic Health Center. There will be experiences in oral assessment and primary preventive dental services for the medical school’s pediatricians-in-training, as well as clinical rotations in pediatric dentistry for dental residents in the dental school’s general practice residency. The clinic will also serve the state as a venue for implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of new delivery models of dental care, such as the effective integration and utilization of dental therapists in the dental practice.

 Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Study Mice Brought Back from the Final Shuttle Mission 

Associate Professor Elisabeth Barton and Fellow Anastasios Philippou of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine’s Anatomy and Cell Biology department recently completed a NASA grant studying tissue and cell samples taken from mice in space. They examined the consequences of zero gravity on muscles, specifically the differences in loading between jaw muscles and limb muscles in mice. Drs. Barton and Philippou are evaluating the differences to examine the effects of microgravity on muscles and how it can help astronauts prevent atrophy.

 Midwestern University-Illinois Breaks Ground on Multispecialty Clinic 

On August 1, 2011, university officials and civic leaders in Downers Grove, Illinois, gathered at a groundbreaking ceremony for Midwestern University. When completed, the $120 million facility will house a multispecialty clinic and a low-cost dental clinic for the community. Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University, noted that “the new clinic will welcome the entire community and offer quality health care at reduced, affordable fees.” The clinic is scheduled to open in 2013 and will give Midwestern students the opportunity to work under the supervision of full-time faculty members to provide care to DuPage County residents.

 University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and the Keeneland Association Operate Mobile Dental Van for Equine Workers’ Children 

About 50 children received free screenings in a mobile dental unit through a partnership between the Keeneland Association (which runs the Keeneland racetrack), the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Dentistry, and Blue Grass Farm Charities. The mobile unit was staffed by UK dental professors and residents and provided a learning experience for UK dental students.

The Dean of the College of Dentistry, Dr. Sharon P. Turner, said the event was intended to open “the door to providing more access to affordable care for members of our community who need it most.” Dr. Turner noted that the children who required more care would be referred to the school’s Twilight Clinic, which provides after-hours dental care for free or reduced fees to children.

Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson emphasized the value of service and that this collaboration “can improve the lives of our valued workers and their families by addressing the critical issue of oral health.”

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