MESA, Ariz. (July 2, 2014) – A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) and the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona (NKF AZ) announced today a multi-prong partnership to expand the network of dental professionals to treat patients with kidney failure.

NKF AZ received a multi-year grant from the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide patients increased access to transportation, nutrition services, and dental care for patients on dialysis and who are on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.

Maureen Romer, DDS, MPA, director, Center for Advanced Oral Health at ATSU-ASDOH, states patients must be free of dental disease because any potential infection puts a new organ in jeopardy.

Through mandatory training in advanced care dentistry, ATSU-ASDOH provides student doctors of dental medicine the necessary skills to treat patients with advanced oral healthcare needs. Through its advanced care clinic on the school’s Mesa, Ariz. campus, students work first-hand with patients to deliver care under the supervision of faculty dental professionals who provide training on appropriate treatment protocols for renal patients.

“The ATSU-ASDOH public clinics are sensitive to the ramifications of chronic kidney disease and transplantation for dental patients on dialysis and patients taking immunosuppressant drugs during the post-kidney transplant stages,” said James Ivie, PhD, patient services director at NKF AZ.

NKF AZ currently refers patients to the school’s clinic, however numbers are expected to increase as the grant becomes more fluid. NKF AZ and ATSU-ASDOH are looking to graduates of the dental school to help create an expanded network through their own practices. The network of trained providers will offer services ranging from, but not limited to exams, cleanings, and dental restorations.

Six ATSU-ASDOH graduates have already expressed interest in contributing to the new program.

“I am proud of our alumni who are committed to our community and who would like to provide care for patients with medical complications,” said Dr. Romer. “By creating an extended network of trained providers to see these patients, we are moving them toward optimum oral health.”

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