The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has established a Center for Dental Education that will include an oral health clinic and postgraduate programs for dentists in advanced general dentistry and oral surgery.
The oral health clinic, expected to begin accepting patients in early 2013, will occupy about 3,000 sq. ft. that is being renovated adjacent to the UAMS Dental Hygiene Clinic and will share additional facilities with that clinic.
In addition, the center will collaborate with the Arkansas State Dental Association to develop continuing education opportunities for practicing dentists in the state.
“UAMS is committed to improving health and health care in Arkansas, which includes developing new programs like our Center for Dental Education,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “Access to adequate dental care in Arkansas is a health care problem that has far reaching effects on the health of Arkansans.”
Charles O. Cranford, D.D.S., is director of the new Center for Dental Education, which will be in the UAMS College of Health Professions that already includes the dental hygiene program.
Keith David Stillwell, D.D.S., who has been associate director of General Practice Residency at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, has been named director of the
clinical program and will arrive in September.
The oral health clinic will open initially with five treatment rooms.
Stillwell will lead the effort to secure accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation for a general practice residency at UAMS and will serve as director of the residency program. The goal is for the center to begin accepting dental residents in 2014. By then, the oral health clinic is expected to expand to include about 15 treatment rooms.
“We need more dentists in Arkansas and establishing a postgraduate residency program in the state will increase the number of dentists beginning their careers in the state,” said Cranford, comparing it to a medical residency where many physicians often will remain in the area where they completed their residency. “Our overall goal is to try to get more dentists into underserved areas around the state.”
Cranford said he envisions dental residents being able to complete rotations at clinics, hospitals or AHEC sites around the state.
The Center for Dental Education and its residency program could serve as a foundation for an eventual dental college at UAMS, Cranford said. Arkansas is one of only three states in the nation with a population of more than 2.5 million that does not have a college of dentistry.
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