PHILADELPHIA, June 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Penn Dental Medicine is launching the Center for Integrative Global Oral Health with the goal of developing innovative solutions to transform the way educators, practitioners, and policy makers tackle the challenges of achieving equitable oral health locally, nationally, and worldwide. A $5 million gift from alumnus Dr. Garry Rayant (GD’77) and his wife, Dr. Kathy Fields, is providing the foundational support to establish the Center and create a new endowed professorship – the Fields-Rayant Professorship.
The Center will be dedicated to exploring the educational, public health, and public policy changes needed to improve the largely preventable epidemic of oral and dental diseases facing people around the world.
“Dentists have always played an essential role in ensuring not just oral health, but overall health,” says Dr. Mark S. Wolff, Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean. “The new Center will challenge us to move beyond our traditional role of operating in relative isolation from other health care providers to develop a new, integrated approach that promises to make a difference far beyond our campus.”
The Center’s mission will be built around the concept of integrative health: the idea that oral health is linked inextricably to general health, quality of life and social well-being, and that dentist should work in collaboration beyond the medical community to deliver holistic, patient-centered, equitable care, especially to the underserved. The Center will provide the infrastructure and critical mass of thought leaders needed to develop and test interventions to improve outcomes for issues of prevention, accessibility, and affordability of oral health care services from local to global levels.
Initial goals of the Center will include: integrative health policy and health systems research in areas such as implementation science, disease prevention, novel care delivery systems, and cost reduction; developing DMD and postgraduate curricula in epidemiology and oral disease prevention; training new dentists to become oral health advocates and culturally sensitive providers for their patients; and establishing a Penn Dental Medicine Master of Science in Oral Public Health degree.
A lecture series, launching June 7, has been organized by the Center with the first presentation highlighting the global public health importance of oral diseases and the stark oral health inequalities that exist between and within and public policy responses.
Penn Dental Medicine plans to undertake a multi-year fundraising initiative to capitalize the new Center with an enduring endowment.
Media Contact: Beth Adams, [email protected]
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SOURCE Penn Dental Medicine