University of New England raises funds for new dental college

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University of New England raises funds for new dental college

The University of New England’s campus in Portland, ME, USA, is where the College of Dental Medicine will be located. (DTI/Photo UNE)
Fred Michmershuizen, DTA

Fred Michmershuizen, DTA

Tue. 20 July 2010


PORTLAND, ME / NEW YORK, NY, USA: Thanks to the financial support of Northeast Delta Dental and other contributors, a new dental college is on track to be established in the northeastern United States. The University of New England (UNE) recently announced the lead gift of US$2.3 million from Northeast Delta Dental for the UNE College of Dental Medicine.

UNE plans to establish a college of dental medicine that will address both the issue of access to care and the need for more oral health professionals in the region. UNE’s College of Dental Medicine will emphasize community dentistry, dental public health and prevention, excellence in clinical dentistry, an integrated health care approach to dental education, and population-based health research.

Kathleen Taggersell, director of marketing & communications at UNE, said the dental college is in its fund-raising stage of planning and that UNE must first secure the funds to make the college a reality.

“Our estimated project start-up costs are US$15 million, and hiring of senior faculty and administrators to prepare for accreditation, curriculum, recruitment and clinical affiliations would begin in 2011, with an anticipated first class in 2012,” Taggersell told Dental Tribune.

“Centralized early education of dental students will take place at our Portland campus, and third-year practice at the College’s Portland teaching clinic,” Taggersell said. “Students will then have fourth-year extensive community-based clinical experiences in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.”

Northeast Delta Dental is the largest provider of dental benefits in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Its gift is the largest to date that UNE has received in support of the establishment of a college of dental medicine, which reflects Northeast Delta Dental’s tri-state commitment to this important initiative.

“Good oral health and access to oral health care are two significant public health concerns. We believe the establishment of a dental college in Maine will increase access to oral health education and services throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the states in which we invest corporate funds, and in which the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation awards grants,” said Tom Raffio, president and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental, in a press release announcing the financial contribution.

“Northeast Delta Dental is proud to provide this leadership gift in support of the UNE College of Dental Medicine,” Raffio said.

Delta Dental Plan of Maine has donated US$2 million, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation provided a US$100,000 grant and Delta Dental Plan of Vermont and Delta Dental Plan of New Hampshire have recently awarded an additional US$100,000 each in support of the college, bringing the total gift to US$2.3 million.

“This substantial and incredibly generous gift from Northeast Delta Dental provides a huge boost to our effort to make the UNE College of Dental Medicine a reality,” said Harley Knowles, UNE vice president for institutional advancement.

The Maine Legislature in April 2010 approved a US$5 million bond package that goes to voters 2 November for the purpose of increasing access to dental care in Maine. Of that US$5 million, US$3.5 million is to be used for a community-based teaching dental clinic affiliated with or operated by a college of dental medicine to be matched by US$3.5 million in other funds, and US$1.5 million is to be used to create or upgrade community-based health and dental care clinics across the state to increase their capacity as teaching and dental clinics.

“If voters approve the referendum, UNE will be in a strong position to compete for the US$3.5 million to be used for a college of dental medicine clinic,” Taggersell said.


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