Columbia University is renaming its highly respected dental school to better reflect the increasing focus on oral health as central to total health, as well as the school's solid foundation in the biomedical sciences.
University trustees recently approved the name change to the College of Dental Medicine.
The nearly 90-year old school, formerly known as the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, has long been a national leader in dental education,
community service, and research.
"We prepare our students to help manage the total health of patients from the perspective of oral health, and our new name underscores that
approach to dentistry," said Ira B. Lamster, D.D.S, M.M.Sc., dean of the
College of Dental Medicine.
"The College of Dental Medicine continues a strong tradition of excellence in dental education at Columbia, producing exceptional practitioners and advancing research and innovation in dentistry," said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. "Its new name reflects the College's comprehensive biomedical approach and its close work with other disciplines in the medical field."
"Faculty and students from the College of Dental Medicine work side by side with their colleagues from a wide range of medical disciplines, and are tackling oral health issues from clinical, research and public policy approaches," said Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., executive vice president of Columbia University Medical Center.
Columbia's dental school students take the same first two years of basic
science classes as do students in the university's esteemed medical school, the College of Physicians & Surgeons.
The dental school at Columbia University was founded in 1917. In 1923,
the school merged with the College of Dental and Oral Surgery of New
York and became the Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery.
In addition to its educational mission, the College of Dental Medicine
has a robust dental research program that crosses lines with areas of
medical and preventive healthcare.
College of Dental Medicine faculty are pursuing research on a multitude of oral health issues, many related to general health and preventive healthcare issues important to patients.
Among the innovative research efforts currently underway are studies exploring the influence of oral infection on cardiovascular and
cerebrovascular diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and diabetes
From a public health perspective the College of Dental Medicine is pursuing innovative smoking cessation programs for dental patients and an improved understanding of social determinants of oral health and disease. The College is also leading the effort to address the unique oral health care needs of older adults.
The College of Dental Medicine implements one of the most extensive
community service health programs in the Washington Heights area, where
Columbia University Medical Center is located. Washington Heights, a
federally designated medical and dental manpower shortage area, affords
students rich learning opportunities by exposing them to a broad range of oral health issues.
Dental programs in seven area public schools, a dental van that provides oral health screenings and treatment, and three off-site community-based dental clinics, providing state-of-the-art care to an underserved population, are among the programs marking the College's long heritage of commitment and involvement in the local community.
The College of Dental Medicine is one of four schools that comprise
Columbia University Medical Center, along with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the School of Nursing, and the Mailman School of Public Health.