Dugoni School Receives Grant to Treat the Developmentally Disabled

Dentistry Today


The Special Care Clinic and Hospital Dentistry Program at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry has received $120,000 from the Palo Alto-based WITH Foundation. The three-year grant is intended to increase the number of professionals trained to deliver high-quality healthcare to people with developmental disabilities in the San Francisco Bay area.

The funds will help the dental school provide rigorous education and experiential learning opportunities to more than 570 dental and medical students, residents, scholars, and pharmacy interns, according to the school. As part of their clinical training, they will handle an estimated 13,870 patient visits over three years.

Under the supervision of faculty members Paul Subar, DDS, and Allen Wong, DDS, EdD, 164 third-year dental students will rotate through the school’s Special Care Clinic each year to provide hands-on dental services to patients with special needs. Students also will spend one day in an operating room to care for patients whose conditions warrant general anesthesia.

Plus, approximately 10 residents and global scholars in the school’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry program will also receive advanced training through coursework and a rotation in the clinic.

In addition, 18 externs from the university’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will complete their clinical rotation in the Special Care Clinic. Students from the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine also will benefit from the grant, as eight to 10 medical students per year will rotate through the clinic to learn how to perform oral health examinations and identify those who require dental referrals.

“Getting dental care for people with a disability can be very challenging for parents and caregivers,” said Nader A. Nadershahi, DDS, MBA, EdD, dean of the Dugoni School of Dentistry. 

“We are grateful for this funding that will help us provide even more training to support the healthcare needs of people with developmental disabilities. New clinical experienced and interprofessional education for our students and residents will allow them to develop skills that will benefit thousands of patients now and well into the future,” said Nadershahi.  

The Dugoni School’s Special Care Clinic is one of very few clinics in Northern California serving a wide range of people with developmental disabilities, including low-income and racially diverse patients. The grant is designed to support patients who have moderate to severe conditions across four broad areas: cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, genetic abnormalities, and seizure disorder. 

Established in 2002, the private WITH Foundation promotes the establishment of comprehensive healthcare for adults with developmental disabilities designed to address their unique and fundamental needs. It distributes approximately $750,000 each year and has provided more than $6.5 million in funding support.

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