Partnership Improves Oral Healthcare for Patients With Special Needs

Dentistry Today


The Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) and the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) have announced an academic affiliation designating WIHD as a teaching site for TCDM students. Dental students will conduct weekly rotations in WIHD’s dental department, which provides oral healthcare to more than 4,000 adults and children with special needs each year throughout the Hudson Valley.  

As part of the program, students will assist WIHD’s dental department at its facility on the New York Medical College campus as well as travel in WIHD’s mobile dental van to multiple site locations throughout the region. Students also will observe oral procedures conducted under general anesthesia in the operating room at Westchester Medical Center’s MidHudson Regional Hospital.

“This partnership provides our students with a unique educational opportunity that can drastically impact how and to whom they will provide care in the future,” said Ronnie Myers, DDS, TCDM dean. “Through observing and assisting patients with special needs, their families, and caregivers, our students will gain a new level of comfort and confidence while learning behavioral modification techniques for successful dental visits.” 

“WIHD is pleased to partner with TCDM to help train these future dental professionals,” said Susan Fox, PhD, president and CEO of WIHD. “A well-trained dental workforce, with experience in working with individuals with severe disabilities, is essential to assure that these individuals have access to proper and regular dental care in the community.” 

To support good oral hygiene between dental visits, WIHD is developing software to engage people with intellectual and developmental disabilities around the importance of oral health and the tools and techniques to clean their teeth regularly. TCDM students will participate in demonstrations of this software and help administer a new patient program that will help collect patient feedback about their experiences at WIHD.

Spearheaded by TCDM founding dean Jay Goldsmith, DDS, in collaboration with Pat Seagriff-Curtin, DDS, former director of dental services at WIHD, the affiliation between TCDM and WIHD is the first such partnership to be established since the college’s creation in 2016. The school is actively engaged in the development of several additional affiliations meant to further enhance the educational training of its students.

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