NYU College of Dentistry has received a nearly $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to prepare dental and dental hygiene students to care for underserved populations, including people with disabilities and expectant mothers.
The funding will support a new program, Preparing the Future, which is designed to address the national workforce shortage of dental professionals providing primary care dental services to vulnerable populations.
“Preparing the Future seeks to improve the knowledge, confidence, and willingness of future dentists and dental hygienists to care for populations that lack access to dental care in their communities,” said Courtney H. Chinn, DDS, MPH, clinical associate professor and associate chair of pediatric dentistry at NYU Dentistry, who will lead the program. “Research shows that meaningful clinical experience in caring for people from underserved backgrounds during dental training increases oral health professionals’ interest in caring for these populations, which could help to address current disparities in dental care.”
Preparing the Future will provide students with enhanced experiences in the classroom, clinic, and community. NYU Dentistry will revise the curriculum for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, a course delivered in the first year of dental school, to include interactive student engagement modules focused on underserved populations. In addition, third- and fourth-year dental students will collaborate with dietetic interns during their rotation in the pediatric dental clinic that incorporates nutritional counseling into oral health care for vulnerable high-risk children and their families.
Dental and dental hygiene students will also learn how to improve dental access in community settings through exposure to a school-based asynchronous teledentistry program incorporating intraoral cameras and virtual diagnosis of dental conditions. NYU dental students are expected to successfully utilize these current technological advances to improve their ability to coordinate care, triage dental emergencies, and refer for specialty care.
Finally, the HRSA funding will support NYU Dentistry programs working to diversify the dental workforce through scholarships and expanded mentoring of pre-dental hygiene and pre-dental undergraduate students in the Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program, a pathway program which seeks to help underrepresented students to successfully enroll and thrive in dental school.
Preparing the Future builds upon NYU Dentistry’s ongoing efforts to train dental professionals to care for people with disabilities. NYU Dentistry opened the Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities in 2019 to provide much-needed care for people whose disabilities or medical conditions prevent them from receiving care in a conventional dental setting. In 2020, NYU Dentistry received a $2 million grant from HRSA to train practicing dentists and dental hygienists to care for this population through a program called Bridging the Gap.
The new five-year grant (1 D85HP45704‐01‐00) begins on July 1, 2022. This is the fifth HRSA grant awarded to NYU Dentistry’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry since 2015.
About NYU College of Dentistry
Founded in 1865, New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the US, educating nearly 10 percent of the nation’s dentists. NYU Dentistry has a significant global reach with a highly diverse student body. Visit dental.nyu.edu for more.