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Dental Faculty Development Center

HRSA and Eastman Institute for Oral Health Establish the First National Dental Faculty Development Center

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) selected the Eastman Institute for Oral Health (EIOH), University of Rochester Medical Center, to collaboratively establish a first-of-its-kind primary care dental faculty development center.

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The National Dental Training Center for Primary Interdisciplinary Care Educators will serve as a resource and training hub for junior primary care dental faculty in the U.S., preparing them to become inter-professional clinical educators capable of addressing issues of diversity and health equity, as well as leaders in primary care dentistry.

Throughout the five-year program, 12 trainees will learn a wide range of key skills, such as integrating oral health and primary care, setting up a teledentistry program, increasing access to rural and other underserved populations, and how to train other faculty in their home institutions.

Watch a brief video where Dr. Sean McLaren explains the program in more detail.

“Dental schools continue to face significant challenges recruiting and retaining faculty,” said Jennifer Holtzman, D.D.S., M.P.H., dental officer with HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce. “Evidence suggests that faculty in health professional schools can serve as role models. Well-prepared primary care clinical instructors, particularly those providing instruction on how to care for the oral health needs of underserved and vulnerable populations, can positively influence dental students’ and residents’ practice choices.”

The curriculum, which will be delivered over two cycles (two years per cycle), will be delivered zoom classprimarily online through individual and group sessions, with three weeks of onsite learning in Rochester, New York. Sean McLaren, D.D.S., M.S., chair, EIOH Pediatric Dentistry Residency Program and Walter J. Psoter, D.D.S., Ph.D., EIOH professor, will serve as project managers for the program.

“By maximizing trainees’ experience and competence to build resources and infrastructure at their home institutions, we are confident we can support the academic careers of junior faculty, promote clinical education in community-based training sites, and strengthen faculty recruitment and retention,” said Dr. McLaren.

“We appreciate HRSA’s partnership to help address this critical shortage of dental faculty,” said EIOH Director Eli Eliav, D.M.D., Ph.D., “and we look forward to working together on this unique program.”

Success Story

Linda Rasubala, DDS, PhD, MSHPE, Associate Director of the EIOH’s Howitt Urgent Care Center, is completing her HRSA-funded, $1M (HRSA-17-072) K02 “Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry Clinician Educator Career Development Award (2017 – 2022). Her project is to develop career-centered primary dental care for underserved and vulnerable populations in the interprofessional primary care (IPC) model and enhance primary care through training 1) dental and medical residents and 2) continuing education programs for faculty and community practitioners.

portrait of Linda RasubalaDr. Rasubala has successfully developed and implemented an innovative competency-based training curriculum in urgent dental care for dental residents that direct the patients into primary oral/medical care and uses the urgent care training program as a model for both comprehensive IPC dental education and training, as well as oral health training to primary care medical residents and faculty to improve access to primary medical care for dental urgent care patients.

In New York, a pregnant woman who would not ordinarily be eligible for Medicaid can be a temporary Medicaid recipient throughout her pregnancy. To assure access and utilization of dental care for this vulnerable population, Dr. Rasubala established a policy for pregnant women entering the Urgent Care Center to be scheduled for more comprehensive care to be completed within the temporary insurance coverage period. As a result, her residents learn a great deal about Dental-OB care, including understanding disadvantaged patients' access and barriers issues.

Throughout the last four years, she earned a promotion to Associate Professor. She successfully completed a Master of Health Professions Education, and she has been named a Fellow in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Leadership Education and Development (AAMC-LEAD) certificate program, which will begin in the Spring. Dr. Rasubala will bring her expertise and leadership to this Faculty Development Program--using her master's in Health Professions Education, she will assist the Fellows in their pedagogic and primary care expertise development.