The objective of assisting to enhance access to dental care for people with disabilities is a central focus of the project. To assist meet this aim, Penn Dental Medicine is working with the Delta Dental Foundation to set up a new continuing education series (DDF). A $50,000 donation from DDF will provide funding for an online professional development program that aims to assist oral health care providers better understand and serve the disability population.
“We really value this assistance and dedication from the Delta Dental Foundation,” said Dr. Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark S. Wolff, in regard to the contribution received from the Delta Dental Foundation. “We want to make sure that we don’t only educate our students, but also assist the training of physicians and clinicians in caring for individuals with disabilities by practicing clinicians in our own facility. This new program will be a vital resource for our mission.
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 57 million persons with disabilities in the United States,” Dean Wolff says. The way in which one serves the dental population has to adapt as well as the educational paradigm. In order to help teach people how to better serve this group, the educational paradigm should be modified to allow dental care practitioners to work with patients with diverse requirements.
In partnership with Penn Dental Medicine’s new Care Center for Persons with Disabilities, which opened in December 2020, the school is spearheading efforts to educate the medical community on policies and practices around delivering preventive and interceptive care to individuals with a range of intellectual, developmental, acquired, and physical disabilities.
The DDF grant will support the creation of an enduring series of free, online courses that are specifically focused on raising awareness of the barriers to equitable oral health for individuals with disabilities, and developing proficiency among clinicians in delivering care to this vulnerable population. This ADA CERP initiative was developed and given via Penn Dental Medicine’s Office of Continuing Education (an ADA CERP provider), which is made available to all U.S. licensed dentists and their support employees for a three-year period without charge.
Disability dentistry clinicians who have completed 18 or more of the required courses over the course of three years will get a certificate of completion from Penn Dental Medicine as a Disabilities Dentistry Clinician Expert. The courses that form the base of the curriculum are already available for download.
Nearly all the patients with disabilities who may benefit from dental treatment are unable to receive it because of the insufficiency of dental services, according to Holli Seabury, EdD, the DDF’s executive director. We are happy to support and promote this initiative, which will, without a doubt, guarantee that more dental care professionals will be able to provide high-quality, patient-centered dental care for the persons with disabilities.
Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina’s philanthropy arm is the Delta Dental Foundation, which was created in 1980 and works to address the needs of people across the state. DDF is committed to building and expanding partnerships and initiatives that are designed to enhance oral and general health, and the equitable distribution of health. To learn more, visit the DDMF website at http://www.deltadentalmi.com/ddf.