Ten schools receive funds to improve access to dental care, enroll minority/low income students

September 18, 2002

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced the names of 10 dental schools (see appended list) that will receive grants of up to $1.5 million each to increase access to oral health care among low-income and medically disadvantaged populations. The "Pipeline Profession & Practice: Community-Based Dental Education" initiative will provide chosen institutions with five-year grants to link their schools to communities in need of dental care and to boost their underrepresented minority and low-income student enrollment numbers.

"These dental schools will work to reduce gaps in care through community-based education programs that expand patient care to underserved patients," said Judith Stavisky, senior program officer at RWJF.

The Surgeon General's Report on the Oral Health of the Nation released in May of 2000 showed that oral health in the United States. has improved greatly over the last half-century, but "there is a 'silent epidemic' of oral disease affecting poor children, the elderly and many members of racial and ethnic minorities." At the same time, according to the American Dental Education Association, the numbers of under-represented minority students enrolling in the nation's dental schools is far below their proportion in the U.S. population and has dropped significantly over the last decade.

Dental schools funded through the Pipeline program will work to counteract these trends. They will forge partnerships that enable their students, residents, and faculty to work with private practitioners, health agencies, hospitals, schools, clinics, and other community organizations to provide services to populations with poor oral health and limited access to dental care. The chosen institutions also will develop strategies to recruit more low-income students and more African-American, Latino, Native American, and other underrepresented minorities into dentistry.

The Pipeline Profession & Practice national program office is based at Columbia University's School of Dental and Oral Surgery under the direction of Allan Formicola, D.D.S., M.S., at Columbia University and Howard Bailit, D.M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut Health Center and Hartford Hospital. Kim Herbert, MPH, also at Columbia University, serves as the program's deputy director.

"This new RWJF initiative will help the dental schools in expanding their programs to help reach those populations who face obstacles to oral health care and to increase their enrollment of underrepresented minority students," said Dr. Formicola.

Dr. Bailit added, "Underrepresented racial and ethnic minority dental health professionals provide a large amount of the care to minority populations and it is, therefore, important to create a more diverse dental workforce than currently exists."
For more information about the program, visit dentalpipeline.columbia.edu

*The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse -- tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

**The School of Dental and Oral Surgery (SDOS) at Columbia University, founded in 1917, is located at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center campus in northern Manhattan. In addition to providing education programs for pre- and post doctoral candidates, SDOS conducts research in state-of-the-art facilities and oversees an extensive community-based service program for residents in the surrounding community -- a federally designated medical and dental manpower shortage area.


Pipeline Professions and Practice:
Community-Based Dental Education Grant Recipients

Boston University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
Dr. Ana Mascarenhas, 617-638-4456
$ 1,349,880

Howard University College of Dentistry, Washington, DC
Dr. Charles Saunders, 202-806-0440

Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry, Nashville, TN
Dr. Yolanda Anthony-Williams, 615-327-5731

The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Columbus, OH
Dr. Paul S. Casamassimo, 614-292-1509
$ 1,500,000

University of California at San Francisco, School of Dentistry, San Francisco, CA
Dr. William F. Bird, 415-476-4038
$ 1,345,320

University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, Farmington, CT
Dr. Roderick L. MacNeil, 860-679-3212
$ 1,354,863

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Chicago, IL
Dr. Linda M. Kaste, 312-996-5724
$ 1,500,000

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, NC
Dr. Ronald P. Strauss, 919-966-2788
$ 1,349,520

University of Washington School of Dentistry, Seattle, WA
Dr. Thomas H. Morton, Jr., 206-685-8205
$ 1,495,920

West Virginia University Research Corporation, Morgantown, WV
Dr. Sheila S. Price, 304-293-6646
$ 1,350,000

Columbia University Medical Center

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