CONTACT: C. LINDON LARSON
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-9569; fax (319) 335-8034
New UI center blends pediatric dentistry, dental public health training
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A federal grant of more than $900,000 funds a new
center at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry that combines pediatric
dentistry training with a public health focus.
The five-year center grant awarded in July by the Bureau of Maternal
and Child Health (MCH) supports a three-year residency program leading
to pediatric dentistry certification and a master's degree in dental public
health. According to Dr. Arthur Nowak, professor of pediatric dentistry
and director of the program, the goal is to produce pediatric dentists
who are leaders and advocates for public health issues pertaining to mothers
and children -- especially those with special health care needs.
"Our graduates will be able to work with large populations, see
problems and develop special programs for vulnerable populations with minimal
access to oral health care," he says. "We want to give graduates
the tools they need to take a more global view."
Populations targeted by the program include people with disabilities
and children from low-income families. The UI College of Dentistry has
a long history of serving these and other groups.
The new program also aims to reach out to other pediatric dentistry
programs across the country, providing curriculum models and other resources
to enhance education. "Very few programs teach practitioners how to
interact in their communities and to take health leadership and advocacy
roles. We want to extend this kind of information to other programs,"
Continuing education, consultation and technical assistance for practicing
dentists also will be a goal of the program. Nowak describes plans to offer
a series of continuing education programs for dentists and other health
professionals, perhaps using the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) to reach
remote sites around the state.
The grant funds two pediatric dentistry residents each year. The UI
College of Dentistry continues to offer the traditional two-year pediatric
dentistry training and certification program for dentists interested primarily
in clinical practice.