Penn Dental readies launch of global oral health center

2020 02 26 23 19 1148 Dentists Young 400

Penn Dental Medicine will use a $5 million gift from an alumnus to fund a new endowed professorship and support the launch of the institution's Center for Integrative Global Oral Health.

The new center will seek to elevate the discussion on the vital role of oral health as part of overall health, as well as to influence local, national, and global oral health policy, according to the institution. It will also educate and train graduates in developing public policy and addressing health inequities, Penn Dental said.

The center's primary goals include developing curricula for Doctor of Dental Medicine and master's level training in the issues of oral disease prevention and social-behavioral and commercial determinants of oral health, as well as the integration of oral health as part of overall health. Other efforts include the following:

  • Establishing a Penn Dental Medicine Master of Public Oral Health degree
  • Conducting health policy and health systems research
  • Advancing dialogue with educators, practitioners, and policymakers

Thanks to the $5 million gift by alumnus Dr. Garry Rayant and his wife Dr. Kathy Fields, the new endowed Fields-Rayant Professorship will serve as the first step in organizing the center. The new professor will work with faculty, create curricula, and leverage internal and external partnerships to formulate an initial plan of investigation, Penn Dental said.

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