Philadelphia — The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine announced Oct. 29 it received $2.1 million over five years from the Health Resources and Services Administration to launch a new postdoctoral training program in general dentistry.
The Advanced Education in General Dentistry program is designed to educate dental residents in primary dental care for vulnerable and underserved patients, according to a news release.
“This new program builds on our ongoing efforts at Penn Dental Medicine to address persistent health disparities and difficulties in accessing oral health care for vulnerable and underserved patients in Philadelphia,” says David Hershkowitz, D.D.S., division chief of restorative dentistry at Penn Dental Medicine and principal investigator on the HRSA grant, who will be the AEGD program director. “It is our plan that program graduates will receive advanced knowledge, skills, and experiences to best serve these populations.”
Dental residents in the AEGD program are anticipated to be placed in two of the dental school’s community-based sites — Penn Dental Medicine at Sayre and Penn Dental Medicine at Puentes de Salud.
According to Penn Dental Medicine, dental residents will also complete clinical dental care within the school’s soon-to-open Care Center for Persons with Disabilities, and in the school’s clinical dental program for survivors of torture in partnership with Philadelphia’s Nationalities Service Center.
"Through Penn Dental Medicine's substantial ongoing investment in treating vulnerable populations, we see not only the need for excellent comprehensive dental care, but also the need for advanced training in the delivery of that care,” said Dr. Olivia Sheridan, D.M.D., professor of clinical restorative dentistry, in the release.
Over the first planning year, from July 2020 to June 2021, Penn Dental Medicine will develop the program and apply for accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. It is anticipated that the first class will begin in July 2021, with four students accepted into the one-year program each year.