CDM project funded by Delta Dental Community Care Foundation

Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine (CDM) received a $194,660 award from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation for direct patient care services and oral diagnostic equipment.

“Support from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is the ultimate win-win for the patients we serve and our students’ clinical education,” said College of Dental Medicine Dean Steven Friedrichsen, DDS. “The funding supports patient care needs that would otherwise be unmet due to finances. Our students benefit from the opportunity to provide additional needed care and gain an understanding of the challenges patients face in obtaining affordable care. We are deeply grateful to the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation for their continuing support of our dual mission of patient care and student education.”

The funding from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation has grown steadily, starting with $10,000 in 2016. CDM received $20,000 in 2017, $30,000 in 2018 and $40,000 each year in 2019 and 2020, for a total of $334,660, said CDM Director of Patient Care Services Suzanne Adolphson, MSW, MHA, SHRM-SCP. This year, the Foundation gave CDM about $35,000 to update its oral diagnostic equipment and $159,000 for direct patient care services, including crowns, removable partial dentures, coronectomy procedures, biopsies and oral diagnostic services.

“We are proud to partner with Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine in their mission to improve the lives and health care outcomes of their patients,” said Kenzie Ferguson, vice president of Foundation and corporate social responsibility for Delta Dental of California. “The partnership helps us achieve our broader mutual goals of increasing access to oral health care and providing opportunities for oral health education.”

The WesternU College of Dental Medicine received a $194,660 award from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation for direct patient care services and oral diagnostic equipment. This file photo shows CDM faculty and students in the WesternU Dental Center. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

The funds will help provide low-cost or free oral diagnostic services. Biopsy results are prompt and patients get a chance to discuss results with a clinician and pathologist. Medically necessary oral health services for patients undergoing cancer treatment or with maxillofacial pathology are also provided at reduced or no cost. Patients gain access to educational sessions and materials. Additionally, they are connected to follow-up care at their dental and medical homes.

For crowns and partial dentures, CDM students will work with faculty to identify patients who qualify for this funding – those who do not have private insurance. CDM faculty will manage coronectomies.

CDM students provide a lot of community service, which helps them understand what is needed to help the underserved who do not have good access to health care, Adolphson said. This may inspire them to provide similar services in their own practices.

“Students also see that their dental school is trying to find ways to help patients who don’t have access to care,” Adolphson said. “It shows the humanism side of our College and our University.”