Creating Learning Opportunities

With a $2 million gift from the Delta Dental Foundation, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry is in the process of creating the Delta Dental of Michigan Integrated Special Care Clinic. This new clinic will offer important learning opportunities for students and improve health care access for patients with developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, complex medical problems, significant medical limitations, veterans with PTSD, and the vulnerable elderly, by offering dental and medical services in the same facility. UM-SoD_SpecialCareClinic_SignPhoto_DD-Reps_2014_870 The Delta Dental of Michigan Integrated Special Care Clinic’s unique delivery model is designed so that dental students and faculty, as well as colleagues from other University of Michigan 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 provide important clinical training for future dental professionals. “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. “Patients in our new clinic will be assigned to an interprofessional team representing dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and social work, who will coordinate and expedite care.” The clinic is in the planning stage and is to be part of a major School of Dentistry renovation. The design will feature a cluster of treatment rooms of sufficient size to accommodate patients in wheelchairs, caregivers, and health care professionals. “We are very grateful to the Delta Dental Foundation,” said Dr. Laurie McCauley, dean of the School of Dentistry. “This gift will help us provide services to a group of patients whose access to oral health care is often limited. Equally important is the training of our dental, dental hygiene, and graduate students will receive. It will better prepare them to treat this group of patients in private practice or in public health facilities after graduation.” 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. “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.”   *Banner photo by Andrew Horne