Texas A&M dental school gets $5.4M in grants

The Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry has received two grants worth $5.4 million to expand its pre- and postdoctoral training, helping to bridge the gap between medicine and dentistry.

The two awards are funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) over five years. The majority of the grant money ($3.7 million) will go toward redesigning the school's dental public health residency program, while $1.7 million will go toward expanding predoctoral professional collaboration efforts.

The predoctoral training award will be used to expand interprofessional experiences at North Dallas Shared Ministries, a nonprofit that provides social and health services to low-income residents. Through a partnership with the dental school and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, dental students will work with other medical students to provide a comprehensive health experience to patients.

"Students won't, strictly speaking, just be doing dentistry when they are out there," stated Daniel Jones, chair of public health sciences and principal investigator for the predoctoral grant, in a press release. "The ultimate goal at North Dallas Shared Ministries encompasses the patient-centered medical home: One-stop shopping, where you can see the dentist, the social worker, and case managers to connect people with the right resources."

The postdoctoral training award revamps the dental public health residency program by offering a master's of public health in collaboration with Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health. In addition, the grant money will expand pediatric dentistry residents' clinical rotations to all of the college's community-based training centers, beginning with North Dallas Shared Ministries.

"We are training practitioners for the future, bridging the gap between medicine and dentistry, instead of the way dentistry is done today," stated Andreea Voinea-Griffin, research assistant professor in public health sciences.

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