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School Gets $2 Million Gift From Delta Dental Foundation

The sign says it all.  Touring the School are (left to right): Teri Battaglieri, director of corporate citizenship and philanthropy for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana; Dr. Stephen Stefanac, senior associate dean; Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean and clinical professor of dentistry; and James P. Hallan, chairman of the Delta Dental Foundation Board of Trustees.

Gift Will Create State's First Dental Interprofessional Clinic for Patients with Special Needs

Ann Arbor, MI — March 5, 2014 — The University of Michigan School of Dentistry will create a unique clinic where patients with special needs will receive dental and health care services in the same facility from providers representing multiple disciplines, thanks to a $2 million gift from the Delta Dental Foundation.

U-M will use the funds to create the Delta Dental of Michigan Integrated Special Care Clinic, where patients with special needs can access dental and other treatment services from multiple health care disciplines in the same location. This special clinic will improve health care access and convenience for patients with developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, complex medical problems, significant medical limitations, veterans with PTSD, and the vulnerable elderly. In addition, U-M dental, dental hygiene and graduate students will learn how to assess and manage the needs of these patients.

The clinic’s unique delivery model is designed so dental students and faculty, as well as colleagues from other U-M health science schools and colleges, will provide care together. This interdisciplinary clinic led by dentistry — believed to be the only one of its kind in Michigan — will allow clinicians to more effectively serve this special patient population with the goals of enhancing access to, and improving the quality of, care.

“Appointments in our comprehensive care clinics may require two or three hours, something that can be difficult for patients with special needs,” said Dr. Stephen Stefanac, U-M senior associate dean and clinical professor of dentistry. “Patients in our new clinic will be assigned to a faculty member who will expedite care with the help of an interprofessional team representing dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and social work. Staff will be available who are experienced working with caregivers and patients with special needs. Quality care delivered with sensitivity and compassion is our primary goal.”

Dr. Laurie McCauley, dean of the School of Dentistry, thanked the Delta Dental Foundation for its generous gift.

“We are very grateful to Delta Dental Foundation,” McCauley said. “This gift will help us provide services to a group of patients whose access to oral health care is limited. Equally important,” she continued, “is the training our dental, dental hygiene and graduate students will receive here at the University of Michigan – they will be even better prepared to treat this group of patients in a private practice environment or in public health facilities after they graduate.”

The School provides oral health care to patients as a part of its dental and dental hygiene education programs. This past year, more than 130,000 patient visits took place in the School’s 14 clinics.  That number included about 12,000 new patients who sought comprehensive dental care.  

The new clinic will be built in existing space in the U-M School of Dentistry.  It will have a cluster of treatment rooms of sufficient size to accommodate patients in wheelchairs, caregivers and healthcare professionals. There will also be two fully enclosed “quiet rooms.”  The design phase for the new clinic is already underway.

Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean and clinical professor of dentistry, said the gift from Delta Dental Foundation reinforces a new Council on Dental Accreditation standard. All graduates are required to be competent in assessing the treatment needs of patients with special needs and to be able to effectively manage the oral health care of those patients, while collaborating effectively with other members of the health care team.

Murdoch-Kinch said “interprofessional team-based care” has been shown to improve patient care outcomes, especially for patients with complex needs. “Increasingly, oral health care will become integrated into the overall care of patients, provided by teams of health professionals including the dental team, nurses, physicians, pharmacists and social workers, with the common goals of providing patient-centered, holistic healthcare.”

The gift represents the largest grant ever awarded by the Delta Dental Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental operations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. This gift counts toward the Victors for Michigan campaign currently underway at the U of M.  The School of Dentistry is a part of this important fundraising initiative.

“The Delta Dental Foundation is thrilled to partner with prestigious institutions and professionals in science, academia and the dental profession to develop new care models and cutting-edge approaches to improving access to dental care for all people, especially populations with special needs,” said Delta Dental Foundation Director Teri Battaglieri. “We are extraordinarily proud of this association with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.”

About the Delta Dental Foundation

The Delta Dental Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization established in 1980, which serves as the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. The Foundation’s goals are to support education and research for the advancement of dental science, and to promote the oral health of the public through education and service activities, particularly for those with special needs. For more information, visit www.deltadentalmi.com

About the School of Dentistry

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care, and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the School to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia, and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.

Contact:

Sharon Grayden, Communications Director (734) 615-2600, dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or Jerry Mastey, Editor (734) 615-1971.

Claire Doroh, Public Relations Coordinator, Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina

(517) 347-5307; cdoroh@deltadentalmi.com