Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Maine Medical Center and Community Dental Launch New Residency Program in Dental Medicine

New Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency (AEGD) program to offer postgraduate training and promote oral health in Massachusetts and Maine

BOSTON (November 25, 2013) — Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, in partnership with Maine Medical Center and Community Dental, has launched a new program to offer advanced postgraduate training in general dentistry and promote oral health in Massachusetts and Maine.  Representatives from all three institutions gathered today for a signing ceremony at Maine Medical Center in Portland. The one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) residency program will offer clinical training in dental care for people with complex medical and oral health needs, such as those with HIV/AIDS, the elderly, homeless, victims of domestic violence, substance abusers, people with developmental disabilities. The new program will be based at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston and in Maine at Maine Medical Center in Portland and at five Community Dental sites in southern Maine. The program will help address a shortage of highly trained dental providers in Maine and nationally.

“Oral health is a vital part of overall health,” said Huw Thomas, BDS, MS, PhD, dean of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and professor of pediatric dentistry. “Tufts is committed to strengthening the dental health workforce to meet the public’s needs, and this new residency program will offer participating dentists advanced training that will help them be better practitioners and caregivers.”

According to the American Dental Association, the number of dental school graduates interested in advanced training far exceeds the number of available positions. The new collaboration between Tufts University, Maine Medical Center and Community Dental will help postgraduate residents gain skill and confidence in patient care and broaden their patient management abilities. Six residents, all graduates of Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) accredited degree programs in the United States and Canada, will participate in the AEGD program. Three residents will be based at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, and three residents will be based at Maine Medical Center and Community Dental in Maine. The new program will begin July 1, 2014, pending final accreditation by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Three Boston-based dental residents will undergo advanced training in collaboration with Tufts University’s patient clinics and at three Tufts Dental Facilities sites across the state, which provide oral health care to people with developmental disabilities, as well as through the “Smart Smiles” program, through which eligible Boston Public School students receive care. 

Three Maine-based residents will train in collaboration with Maine Medical Center in Portland and through five Community Dental Centers in Biddeford, Farmington, Lewiston, Portland, and Rumford. The program has also developed collaborations with southern Maine public schools, the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Maine Department of Health and Human Services Office of Aging and Disabilities, and federal Head Start program. As part of the program, Tufts will welcome new dental faculty members based in Maine. The new AEGD program is the second partnership between Tufts University and Maine Medical Center. Established in 2009, the Tufts University School of Medicine “Maine Track” offers medical students who are ultimately interested in pursuing practice in Maine or other rural locations two years of clinical training experience in Maine. 

The National Rural Health Association reports that evidence suggests that there are significant disparities in oral health status between rural and non-rural populations. Rural adults are significantly more likely to have untreated dental decay and nearly twice as likely to have lost all of their teeth compared to non-rural adults. The state of Maine has fewer dentists per capita than most other states in the nation and the lowest dentist-to-patient ratio of the six New England states. More than 200,000 state residents live in federally designated dental health professional shortage areas, regions with fewer than one dentist for every 5,000 residents; one in every six state residents lives in a shortage area. A recent report found that dental disease was the most common diagnostic reason for an emergency department visit among MaineCare, the state’s insurance program for low-income individuals and families, and uninsured individuals between the ages of 15 and 44.   

“We’re excited to further our relationship with Tufts and to partner with Community Dental in service of expanding access to dental education and services across northern New England,” said Peter Bates, Chief Medical Officer and Academic Dean for the Maine Medical Center – Tufts University School of Medicine Medical School Program. “This program is a wonderful complement to our three-part mission, which includes educating tomorrow’s caregivers.”

Lisa Kavanaugh, MBA, FACHE, chief executive officer of Community Dental, added, “This collaboration provides the opportunity to expand access to affordable quality oral health care; provide education and training for the next generation of dentists; and advances the integration of oral health care with overall health and wellness and the management of chronic disease.  Community Dental is honored to partner with such well respected organizations as Maine Medical Center and Tufts University to further access to care and higher education.” 

The development and implementation of the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program is funded by two grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. 

About Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Founded in 1868, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) is committed to leadership in education, patient care, research, and community service. Students obtain an interdisciplinary education, integrated with medicine, with access to training in dental specialties. Clinics managed at TUSDM provide quality comprehensive care to more than 18,000 diverse individuals annually, including those with special needs. Nationally and internationally, the School promotes health and educational programs and researches new procedures, materials and technologies to improve oral health. For more information, visit dental.tufts.edu.

About Maine Medical Center

Maine Medical Center (MMC) is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1864, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing more than 6,000 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in southern, central, and western Maine. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.

About Community Dental

Community Dental provides access to oral health treatment, disease prevention and education to all people of Maine. Dedicated Community Dental staff and volunteers believe that every child, adult and senior deserves the opportunity to experience quality, affordable oral care throughout their lives. Whether it’s a higher quality of life for adults, caring for kids or better health for seniors, generations of people from all walks of life have benefited from the dedication and skill of Community Dental’s licensed dentists and hygienists.  For more information, visit www.communitydentalme.org.

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