Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Chairman Charles Schwartz, Chancellor John Sharp, Texas A&M University Health Science Center Senior Vice President Carrie L. Byington, MD, College of Dentistry Dean Lawrence Wolinsky, PhD, DMD, along with state officials, today dedicated a new Clinic and Education Building in Dallas, which when complete will allow for increased access to quality dental care for Texans.
The 157,756 square-foot, nine story building will serve as a patient-centered clinical facility for Texas A&M dentistry students, featuring nearly 300 dental chair stations with the most advanced technology, specialized clinics, clinical support areas, classrooms and study spaces. Much-needed dental-school specific patient parking will be available in a garage located on the first three levels of the new structure.
A state-of-the-art facility
“As one of only three dental schools in state, the Texas A&M College of Dentistry has an important role in educating dentists to serve the needs of Texans in the future, researching better treatments and providing excellent dental care today, which align perfectly with our mission to meet the needs of our communities,” Sharp said. “This new facility will enable Texas A&M to continue providing cutting-edge dental care, and promises to be one of the many points of pride for the System.”
The college’s dental and dental hygiene students obtain their education not only in a classroom, but also through extensive direct observation and hands-on experience in a clinical setting. To facilitate this learning process, the college operates dental clinics and provides oral health care at multiple facilities throughout North Texas that provide advanced care for patients with complex cases.
“I congratulate the entire faculty at the College of Dentistry and dean Larry Wolinsky for setting the strategy and fulfilling our goal of serving more students and patients in Texas in this state-of-the-art facility,” said Michael K. Young, President, Texas A&M University.
Located in an area considered dentally underserved by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the college also treats low-income and underserved patients throughout the region. As the largest oral health care provider in North Texas, the college currently provides 100,000 patient visits per year.
“For 112 years, Texas A&M College of Dentistry has provided quality dental care to Texans of all ages, many of whom are underserved,” Byington said. “As a result of the new facilities, the college’s capacity to provide such care to people across the region is expected to increase by up to 40 percent. The college is helping to close the dental health care gap throughout North Texas.”
Continuing a tradition of quality
The new facility will also allow for an increase in enrollment by 25 percent. This expanded class size translates to increased access to quality dental care for Texans. With 90 percent of Texas A&M College of Dentistry graduates staying in Texas to practice, the increased class size will address the shortage of oral health care providers in the state.
The college also boasts the title as the most diverse dental college of all non-historically-minority dental programs in the country. Increasing the diversity of the dental care workforce is key to addressing the barriers to care in underserved populations.
The College of Dentistry opened its doors in 1905 and moved to its current location in 1950. This new facility is the first standalone structure built for the dental school since that time.
Construction of the new $127-million facility is scheduled for completion in fall 2019. Approximately $72 million of the facility’s estimated cost came from approval for bond authority that the Health Science Center received from the Texas Legislature during the 2015 session.
“The College of Dentistry has a long, storied tradition of providing quality dental care to Texans, and with this building expansion, we are destined to carry this tradition for many decades to come,” Wolinsky said.
This story by LaDawn Brock originally appeared in Vital Record.
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