SEATTLE, Nov. 16 The University of Washington (UW) Schoolof Dentistry and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center todayannounced they are joining forces to combat the growing crisis of childhooddental disease with the development of a new pediatric dental facility.
The new facility, located in Magnuson Park, will double the capacity ofthe dental programs at both institutions, providing 30,000 pediatric dentalvisits per year for healthy children and those with urgent or special needs.
Washington Dental Service and the Washington Dental Service Foundationhave provided a lead gift of $5 million to build the facility which will housean innovative clinical, research and training program, the Early ChildhoodOral Health (ECOH) program.
"There is no disease as widespread as childhood cavities, and the shame isthey are nearly preventable with regular dental care," said Washington DentalService CEO Jim Dwyer. "Washington Dental Service is committed to being partof the solution. We believe every child should have a chance to learn, playand grow up in good health. We are excited about the potential for theECOH-WDS partnership."
Washington Dental Service's gift is the largest received by Children's forsupport of dental services. Children's, Washington Dental Service and the UWSchool of Dentistry have a long history of collaboration, developing newmodels for pediatric dental care and advocating for improved access to thatcare.
Dr. Sanford Melzer, MD, Children's senior vice president for strategicplanning, notes that "this generous gift from Washington Dental Serviceprovides the basis for an important joint effort between Children's and the UWSchool of Dentistry that will dramatically improve the dental care of childrenin our region."
In Washington, nearly 60 percent of elementary children suffer frompreventable dental decay and more than one in five suffer from rampantdecay -- cavities in seven or more teeth.
"Children are not healthy if their mouths aren't healthy," said Dr. JoelBerg, DDS, director of the ECOH program and chair of the Department ofPediatric Dentistry at the UW School of Dentistry. "Left untreated, dentaldisease can be intensely painful, costly and lead to other serious lifelonghealth complications. The problem is even worse for the children living inlow-income households and for those with special needs."
Added Berg: "This new venture will ensure our region's children receivethe highest quality oral health care at an early age when disease can beprevented. The Washington Dental Service Building for Early Childhood OralHealth will bring nationally-recognized oral health care and medicalprofessionals together under one roof to directly impact healthcare deliverymodels, research and education."Contacts: Children's Hospital Jennifer Seymour (206) 987-5207 UW School of Dentistry Dana Robinson Slote (206) 616-0827 Washington Dental Service Sean Pickard (206) 528-2304
SOURCE Washington Dental Service