University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry (UCLA SOD) has
received a $1.5 million grant from the state’s largest dental benefits
provider, Delta Dental of California, to support launching a community-based
clinical education program. The award, which will support UCLA SOD students in caring
for some of the most vulnerable patients in California, is the largest that
Delta Dental has ever given a dental school.
Californians face inadequate access to oral health care services for many
reasons. The biggest challenges are the uneven distribution of providers,
underfunded public health programs, lack of understanding of the importance of
oral health and difficulty in identifying available resources.
funding enables the dental school and Delta Dental to have an even stronger
presence in bridging the gap with access to care in California. With Delta Dental’s
generous support, we can expand our treatment reach and training capacity,” says
Paul Krebsbach, D.D.S., Ph.D., Dean of UCLA SOD. “Because our program
continually assesses and evaluates outcomes, the funding will enhance care for
today’s patients, as well as tomorrow’s patients.”
grant enables fourth-year dental students, overseen by credentialed dental
practitioners, to treat Medicaid recipients or people who struggle with access
to care. Two key health care delivery models that the school will affiliate
with are federally qualified health centers, which cater to underserved
populations, and practices that focus on people living at or below 200% of the
federal poverty level.
Dental is committed to broadening access to dental care for those who otherwise
might go without,” says John Yamamoto, D.D.S., M.P.H., Delta Dental’s Vice President
of Professional Services. “We’re pleased to support the efforts of the
community-based clinical education program at the UCLA School of Dentistry and,
in doing so, the many patients and dentists who are so integral to the program.”
funding will support start-up costs to launch the program, which includes
partnering with 12 dental clinics throughout California and the creation of an
online mentorship program. The program will also initiate the use of electronic
health record data monitoring, which will help facilitate audits leading to
improved patient care protocols.
hope to achieve several outcomes over the next several years. First, our goal
is to graduate the highest quality dentists and also increase pathways and
awareness for our graduates into public health dentistry,” says Bill
Piskorowski, D.D.S., the program’s Director and the Associate Dean for Community-based
Clinical Education. “Next, we hope to become a conduit of evidence-based
information between experts and clinicians at remote locations and provide data
to ensure best practices in health care delivery methods nationwide.”
funding will also support further development of the program’s sustainability
model, which creates an efficient, cost-effective structure for student
engagement, faculty commitment and community impact.
Delta Dental as a partner, I am confident that we can create a robust and
effective local oral health care delivery model that can be replicated in other
parts of the state, nation and world,” says Dr. Krebsbach.
Courtesy of Brianna Aldrich, University of
California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry
on February 14, 2018.