Bulletin of Dental Education

OHSU School of Dentistry’s New Facility Enhances Interprofessional Collaboration

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Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) and Skourtes TowerA new era in science, research and education in Oregon began in June with the opening of the new $295 million Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) and Skourtes Tower. The unprecedented collaboration between three state universities—Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland State University (PSU) and Oregon State University (OSU)—will enable the schools to expand teaching facilities, curricula, enrollment and research activities. The OHSU School of Dentistry (OHSU SOD) is open for business in the new facility. ADEA spoke with Phyllis L. Beemsterboer, M.S., Ed.D., Associate Dean Academic Affairs, about OHSU SOD’s new home. 

The building opened on June 26. What changes have you observed so far?

Our new facility is modern—light, spacious and stocked with the latest in equipment and technology. We are receiving raves from patients about the beautiful and spacious new operatories with enhanced privacy, stunning views of the city and river, and the usual professional care from our 400 dental students and residents, supervised by faculty. 

How will the new facility affect the OHSU SOD?
The new OHSU SOD facility will transform dental education in Oregon. With Oregon a progressive state at the forefront of health care reform, the evolving dental practice models are requiring increased collaborations with other health professions. Our new facility will not only enable us to train dentists for the future through interprofessional education (IPE), patient care and research, but will also help us meet the demands of a changing field and increasingly complex patient needs. 

How will the collaboration with PSU, OSU and OHSU’s Schools of Medicine and Nursing affect the OHSU SOD?
With approximately 3,000 students a day using the CLSB, dental students and residents will be learning and mingling regularly with students from nursing, pharmacy and medicine. For example, the OHSU School of Medicine has its medical simulation lab within the CLSB, and dental students will be able to access the facility for hands-on experience in connecting oral care to the rest of the body. Dental students also will have access to an academic resources lab. OHSU’s IPE initiative, which started in the fall of 2013, also nicely dovetails with the new CLSB, training dental students to better understand how integral each discipline is to the other. 

How is the new facility and location contributing to the community?

The CLSB is a model of creative collaboration between private and public entities, development that is furthering Portland’s economy and creating a vibrant inner-city community. The transformational gift for the dental school was from Willamette Dental Co-Founder Gene Skourtes and his wife, Bonnie, who donated $10 million. Dr. Skourtes is a 1968 graduate of the Oregon dental school. Additional major donors included the Oregon Dental Association, Moda Health and A-dec, Inc., and there were many other contributions from a number of loyal dental alumni and friends. The dental community in Oregon is a tight-knit one, and every dental professional in the state, whether or not they are an Oregon dental alumni, can be proud of the new school on South Waterfront.

Interested in learning more about the IPE movement? Register today for the ADEA Policy Center's newest webinar, Moving IPE Forward: The Role for Dental Education, August 20 at noon!

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