May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


University of Rochester’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health Awarded a $3.5 Million Title VII Grant from HRSA

March 2016 Volume LI Number 2


The University of Rochester’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health has been awarded a $3.5 million grant for an innovative educational initiative—a major step in reducing the health disparities among people with special needs.

Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the five-year program will train more than 100 pediatric and general dentists and staff in treating the unmet oral health needs of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other conditions they’ve contracted since childhood—such as Type I diabetes, congenital heart defects, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy—across their lifespan.

Advances in medicine have led to increases in life expectancy for patients with childhood congenital or acquired diseases.  The current system is unequipped to provide high quality dental care for this growing population of patients as they enter adulthood. 

Lack of access is the biggest barrier for this patient population to achieve oral health in underserved communities, primarily because 75 percent of dentists do not treat patients with Medicaid, nor do they have adequate training or facilities. As a result, the number of Dental Health Professionals Shortage Areas has increased from 1,895 in 2001 to 4,900 in 2014.

Led by EIOH Pediatric Dentistry Interim Chair Sean McLaren, D.D.S., the new program provides four different options for postdoctoral training. Similar to medical residents who can specialize in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, pediatric and advanced general dentistry residents can now—for the first time—achieve proficiency in treating patients with special health care needs from birth through advanced age.

The training will take place at UR Medicine’s new Center for Adults with Special Health Care Needs and Eastman Institute for Oral Health, beginning in July 2016. Hans Malmstrom, D.D.S., chair, EIOH’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry and YanFang Ren, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.P.H., EIOH professor and clinical chief of Eastman Dental’s urgent care clinic will also have integral roles in this new training program.

"The dental residents will gain valuable exposure to adult medically complex patients while interacting with the medical faculty and residents throughout the program," said Dr. McLaren. "This will provide the physicians and dentists valuable collaboration, which will in turn, greatly enhance patient care."

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