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Pacific University Begins Process of Developing Accredited Dental Therapy Program

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Pacific University_Feb 2024 BDE_500 px wAfter delivering a successful dental pilot project, training 17 dental therapists eligible for licensure in Oregon, Pacific University received the green light from the Board of Trustees to move forward with an accredited dental therapy master’s program at their December 2023 board meeting.

The School of Dental Hygiene Studies plans to add a Master of Science in Dental Therapy (M.S.D.T.) Program to build upon strong existing health care education programs that the College of Health Professions already offers. A total of 39 additional credits will be required over the course of three years, with students earning a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program (B.S.D.H.) after two years and an M.S.D.T. after three years. In their final year, students will provide care in external public health clinics, in both urban and rural areas of the state, with over 2,000 hours of clinical care provided during the program. 

Pacific University received a $25,000 donation from Permanente Dental Associates (PDA) to support the development and accreditation of the M.S.D.T. Program at the School of Dental Hygiene Studies within Pacific’s College of Health Professions in Hillsboro, OR. PDA is a professional corporation owned, governed and managed by more than 160 general dentists and specialists. Since 1974, PDA has partnered with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest to operate and jointly manage Kaiser Permanente Dental, serving more than 290,000 dental members in Oregon and southwestern Washington.

Amy Coplen, RDH, E.P.D.H., M.S., Director of the Dental Hygiene Studies Program, is leading the implementation and rollout of the M.S.D.T. Program at Pacific University, with plans for the first cohort of six students to begin in fall 2025.

“We learned a tremendous amount from delivering a successful dental pilot project, training 17 dental therapists who will be licensed, placing us in an excellent position to become the sole accredited dental therapy education program in Oregon and potentially the fourth accredited program in the nation,” said Prof. Coplen.

Published on February 14, 2024

Courtesy of Pacific University

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