Wichita State News
Photo: Joe Kleinsasser
WSU President Don Beggs speaks at an Oct. 28 news conference announcing the launch of a new dentistry program at the university.

WSU dentistry program gets boost from Delta Dental

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Advanced Education in General Dentistry program at Wichita State has received a three-year, $3 million gift, a joint pledge from Delta Dental of Kansas and the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation. The gift is a major assist toward constructing a building to house the AEGD program.

The program, a one- to two-year residency program for dentists that expands their clinical and practical knowledge, will be the only dental education program in Kansas.

The facility will be located on north Oliver Street, immediately south of the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

“Delta Dental of Kansas, in partnership with our foundation, has pledged a joint gift of $3 million to be distributed over a three-year period to assist in the construction of a free-standing building to house WSU’s AEGD program,” said Linda Brantner president and CEO of Delta Dental of Kansas. “At Delta Dental we want to ensure all Kansans have access to quality dental care.”

With access to oral health care for many rural and low-income Kansans remaining an unmet need, WSU is working in cooperation with community partners to meet that need.

By offering a broader range of clinical experiences with state-of-the-art technology, more dentists will come to Kansas to expand their education.

With the additional work force, the AEGD program will become a community resource and encourage practicing dentists to stay in Kansas to build long-term careers.

Elizabeth King
Elizabeth King

“This is another fine example of how Wichita State puts its urban-serving mission into action,” said Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation president and CEO. “Delta Dental of Kansas and its foundation continue to step up and partner for the good of the community, and we feel very fortunate to partner with them.”

The majority of Kansas counties (86 out of 105), along with the cities of Topeka and Wichita, are designated as “Health Professions Shortage Areas” for dentistry by the federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration.

Kansas has 36.8 dentists per 100,000 residents, 33 percent below national targets.

A resolution in the Kansas Legislature noted that the burden of oral disease restricts activities in school, work and home, and often significantly diminishes the quality of life.

Initially, the program will begin at GraceMed Health Clinic, a community health center that provides medical and dental care on a sliding scale, in fall 2009 and will expand to a two-year program when the new facility is completed.

Services to be available through the facility include primary dental care, pediatric dentistry, implants and full mouth rehabilitation, orthodontics and advanced clinical techniques. In addition to training dentists, dental hygienists and assistants will be able to do their rotations at the facility.

The cost for phase one of the proposed building is $6.4 million, which includes construction and equipment. The WSU Foundation will embark on a campaign to raise the remainder of the funds from private sources.

In 2005, Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation teamed with the WSU College of Health Professions to renovate the existing dental hygiene clinic to a state-of-the-art, 24-operatory clinic.

It funded an endowed dental hygiene scholarship in 2007 — only the second one in the department.

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Created on Tuesday, October 28, 2008; Last modified on Wednesday, November 12, 2008