Meharry Medical College is taking another major step forward in its mission to provide top-notch educational experiences for its students. A newly renovated and upgraded clinic facility for its residency programs is being dedicated at the campus School of Dentistry. Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Louis Sullivan will provide the keynote address at the 11 am unveiling and dedication ceremony on Friday, May 9.
Meharry School of Dentistry and Henry Schein Inc. are partnering to strengthen the dental safety net in Middle Tennessee. The American Dental Education Association has stated that: “Academic dental institutions are the fundamental underpinning of the nation’s oral health.” As educational institutions, dental schools, allied dental education and advanced dental education programs are the source of a qualified workforce, influencing both the number and type of oral health providers.
Residency training clinics are a major source of dental services for underserved populations. Dental schools are now encouraging graduates to pursue advanced service training and learning that would not only make the next generation of oral health care providers more competent to provide increasingly complex care, but also serve to improve access to care.
Currently, Meharry’s School of Dentistry (SOD) has a one year general practice residency (GPR) program accepting eight residents a year and a four year Oral Surgery program accepting one resident a year. A partnership, and funding from The Henry Schein Cares Foundation to Meharry’s SOD, has provided the needed support to renovate the existing GPR clinic and upgrade 10 dental operatories with the latest technology and equipment. Sullivan is a Board member of Schein.
This will allow the SOD to attract residents, patients and faculty. Also, it will help the college to provide an improved and efficient lower cost alternative for emergency adult care and treatment for vulnerable and at risk populations in Middle Tennessee, foster innovation in health care through evidence based interdisciplinary care, enhance the quality of oral health care delivery, produce a workforce that is appropriately trained and culturally-competent and, more effectively, promote disease prevention and personal initiative for healthier and more productive lifestyles.
Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., is chairman of the board of the National Health Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, whose goal is to improve the health of Americans by enhancing health literacy and advancing healthy behaviors. He also is chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions. He served as chair of the President’s Commission on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from 2002-09, and was co-chair of the President’s Commission on HIV and AIDS from 2001-06. With the exception of his tenure as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 1989-93, Dr. Sullivan was president of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) for more than two decades. On July 1, 2002, he retired and was appointed president emeritus.
His autobiography Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine (with David Chanoff, 2014, University of Georgia Press) was released earlier this year.