Louisiana State University's School of Dentistry will return to its New Orleans home this summer, school officials said.
Dental School Dean Dr. Eric Hovland said the school was chased from New Orleans by damage from Hurricane Katrina. Plans call for the addition of children's dental services, a dental hygienist training program, development of clinical research trials, and continuing-education opportunities for dentists, hygienists, and others, Dr. Hovland said.
"LSU operates the only dental school in the state, and we take that very seriously. We see this as an opportunity to expand activities to an area of the state that needs the benefits of a dental school," he said.
LSU is seeking a $1 million increase in the dental school budget to cover the expense of extra staff and operational costs such as utilities, equipment, and supplies needed for the expansion, Dr. Hovland said. It is part of the school's state budget request for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
"That would give us the most comprehensive program we could put together," Dr. Hovland said. The program could be altered depending on funds available.
The clinics will stay in operation to provide dental services to area residents and provide real-life experiences for students and dentists in training, Dr. Hovland said.
LSU operates two dental clinics on the GSRI site � one with 49 chairs and the other with 78 chairs. Each has state-of-the-art equipment. Over the last year, the clinics have treated more than 5,400 patients, according to LSU records.
For information about dental clinic activities, call (225) 334-2040 or (225) 334-4939.
The high local patient volume makes the site "superb for education" of future Louisiana dentists, LSU Health Sciences Center Chancellor Dr. Larry Hollier said.
Dr. Hollier said he envisioned the regional Oral Health Center as a good start.
Residents in the Gardere area had little opportunity to get lower-cost dental care before LSU was forced to relocate here, Dr. Hovland said.
Source: Reported by a Baton Rouge TV station on Jan. 13, 2007.