Center for Dental Education Receives $250,000 in Grants

Dec. 20, 2013 | Two recent grants, totaling $250,000 will push the UAMS Center for Dental Education past milestones for its education programs and clinic facilities, including soon-to-start clinical externships of fourth-year dental students.

dental clinic

The Center for Dental Education operates the UAMS Oral Health Clinic, wich will begin hosting rotations of fourth-year dental students in February.

The center, in the College of Health Professions, was awarded $150,000 in November from the Blue and You Foundation that will support a student externship program for fourth-year dental students to start in February 2014. A $100,000 grant also was awarded last month from the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Corporate Contributions Committee, to be used to assist continued development of a dental residency program and to provide equipment for the clinic.

“These grants give us a big boost toward attaining our goals to create a dental service and dental education programs at UAMS,” said Charles Cranford, D.D.S., director of the Center for Dental Education. “It’s an exciting step forward in expanding access to dental care for Arkansans, which is our over-arching plan.”

The first four senior dental students from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry are scheduled to arrive in early February for a two-week rotation. The students will spend one-week stints at the dental clinics at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital where they will provide general dental care for patients under supervision of UAMS adjunct faculty.

UAMS will host 72 students through the course of the year. “This gives the students experience they wouldn’t get in college because we operate a hospital-based, outpatient clinic,” Cranford said.

Patient volume at the UAMS Oral Health Clinic continues to grow since its opening in January 2013 with the addition of new dentists Niki Carter, D.M.D., and Jonathan Hart, D.D.S., who join clinic director Laurence Howe, D.D.S. Carter is the newest faculty member and 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 in the Center for Dental Education.

Carter, an Arkansas native, brings more than 24 years of dental experience to UAMS. She will serve a part-time appointment initially while she transitions from the Little Rock dental practice she has owned since 1989.

Initiating  the general practice residency is a  next step for the Center for Dental Education, with an accreditation site visit in late summer of 2014. Cranford and Carter said the plan is to achieve accreditation next year and welcome the first dental residents in 2015.

The new corporate grant will be used to equip one of the new dental treatment rooms in the Oral Health Clinic. The clinic opened with five treatment rooms in 2013 and will see completion of the  expanded clinic in January 2014.  The construction includes a dental laboratory to be shared with the adjacent UAMS Dental Hygiene Clinic.

The Blue and You grant is the latest for the Center for Dental Education, following a $150,000 grant in 2012 that helped create the Center for Dental Education and the development of a strategic plan that could one day lead to a College of Dentistry.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas.