University of New England

Aug. 23, 2011
Award to help open first college of dental medicine in northern New England, improve access to those in need around the state.

PORTLAND, Maine--The University of New England has been awarded $3.5 million from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention for its proposal, “Creating a Dental School Teaching Clinic in Maine.”

The funds, along with a $2.3 million leadership commitment from Northeast Delta Dental, will be used to help startup costs associated with opening the first college of dental medicine in northern New England in the fall of 2013.

“We look forward to working with UNE as Maine’s first dental school becomes a reality. This definitely fills a strong need in our state,” said Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of Maine CDC, in announcement of the award.

In June 2010, the Maine Legislature approved a $5 million bond package to increase access to dental care in the state that was accepted by voters in November 2010. Of that $5 million, $3.5 million was designated for a community-based teaching dental clinic affiliated with, or operated by, a college of dental medicine to be matched by $3.5 million in other funds. UNE submitted the sole proposal.

UNE President Danielle Ripich said, “This award is key for UNE and enables us to establish clinical dental training for our new college of dental medicine. We appreciate that Maine recognizes the critical need to educate dentists for the people of our state. As the largest health-care workforce provider for Maine, UNE is fully prepared to create an innovative state-of-the-art education facility that will allow future dentists to be trained as part of a team of health care providers.”

UNE College of Dental Medicine Dean James Koelbl said the school will begin accepting applications for students in June 2012 in anticipation of its opening in the fall of 2013.

“We submitted our initial application for accreditation in March to the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation,” said Dr. Koelbl. “The next step in the application process will be an on-campus site visit in the spring 2012 with a decision on accreditation expected in late summer 2012.”

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Northeast Delta Dental President and CEO Tom Raffio said, "Dental science indicates that the integration of health services with dental services is the best approach for the recovery of the patient, so we're very pleased that dentists will be trained as members of a valued team of health-care professionals at the University of New England and that their training will include experience at a community-based teaching dental clinic."

Goddard Hall, which first opened at UNE’s Portland Campus 150 years ago, has been renovated to serve as the home for the college of dental medicine’s administrative offices.

Named one of the best regional universities in America by U.S. News & World Report, UNE offers student-centered, interdisciplinary programs in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Westbrook College of Health Professions, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and the College of Graduate Studies.

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