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Community Health Centers


KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) recently awarded a Year 3, $1.5 million grant (effective April 1, 2013) to A.T. Still University (ATSU) to assist the University with further development of its new and innovative dental school based in Kirksville, Mo. MFH has provided $1.5 million since 2011 to assist the University with the initial feasibility/planning and development phases. ATSU plans to open its innovative Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) with its first class of 42 students in the fall of 2013, pending accreditation.

The goal of ATSU-MOSDOH is to educate and produce a new generation of community-minded dentists who will help fill widespread oral healthcare workforce gaps in rural and urban communities, specifically within safety-net settings where outreach to underserved patients is achieved. The curriculum includes a focus on public health.

ATSU President Craig M. Phelps, DO, states, “MFH and ATSU have similar missions focused on improving and increasing access to oral healthcare among Missouri’s most vulnerable populations. With the ongoing support provided by MFH and the creation of strong partnerships with Missouri’s community health centers (CHCs), ATSU is confident its new community and public health-focused dental school will successfully fulfill its mission and increase opportunities for inter-professional education among providers statewide.”

“We are proud to partner with ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health and its commitment to increasing oral health services to Missourians,” said Robert Hughes, President and CEO of Missouri Foundation for Health. “The School’s dedication to serving the underserved has the potential to have an exceptionally significant impact on dental and oral health services in Missouri.”

Missourians, particularly high-risk populations, continue to struggle in terms of accessing dental care services. The state ranks 41st in the nation relative to adults who visit a dentist annually. In particular, adults aged 35-44 years with less than a high school education experience untreated tooth decay nearly three times that of adults with at least some college education. Access to care is compounded by a lack of dental insurance, geographic and financial barriers, and shortages of dental providers—among other factors. Approximately 70 dentists are retiring each year in the state, while only about 45-50 are starting new dental practices. In essence, Missouri’s overall supply of dentists is declining, while the state’s population and demand for dentists are rising. ATSU’s intent is to respond to this growing gap in oral healthcare.

Christopher G. Halliday, DDS, MPH, serves as the inaugural dean of ATSU-MOSDOH. Dr. Halliday’s vast professional experiences include serving the underserved in areas as remote as Barrow, Alaska, for three years; and serving seven years with American Indian populations in New Mexico and Arizona. In several posts in Washington, D.C., he was a leading advocate for access to dental care and possesses extensive expertise in the fields of oral/public health – a track record that sets a strong example for ATSU-MOSDOH faculty and incoming students.

“ATSU-MOSDOH will utilize a progressive curriculum, which fosters an inter-professional learning environment,” said Dr. Halliday. “We will train dentists to treat individual patients and assure that they are capable of developing oral health promotion and disease prevention programs for entire communities.”

ATSU’s emerging four-year dental curriculum in Missouri will involve two years of pre-clinical, interdisciplinary oral health education on the University’s Kirksville campus in a new 62,000-square-foot, $26 million, state- of-the-art educational facility—which is slated for completion in June 2013. The final two clinical education years will be delivered primarily in cooperation with Grace Hill Health Centers Inc. in St. Louis, Mo., via a new 50,000-square-foot, $23 million clinic and via collaborating CHC partner sites throughout Missouri and beyond. This community-based clinical model sets ATSU’s Missouri dental school apart from others and maximizes the best teaching resources of academic and public health dentists.

“During the third and fourth academic years, dental students will provide much needed care and service to disadvantaged populations by working in community-based clinics,” added Dr. Halliday. “Through community service and scholarly activity, our goal is to raise awareness within our graduates of the significant impact and role oral health has on the overall health status of vulnerable populations, thereby creating a new generation of oral healthcare providers for today’s complex healthcare environment.”

Successful ATSU-MOSDOH graduates will earn the doctor of dental medicine (DMD) degree plus a certificate (or optional master’s degree) in Public Health, the latter in cooperation with ATSU’s online School of Health Management. In addition to the public health emphasis, the curriculum interweaves human systems and dental science courses to enable graduates to understand, analyze, and make decisions about disease, which are in the best interests of their patients, patient families, and communities.

“We are grateful for the continued support provided from MFH during the development of Missouri’s newest dental school,” adds Dr. Phelps. “ATSU-MOSDOH has the potential to transform dental education by addressing
the shortage of dental providers and improving access to oral healthcare.”

Once launched, ATSU-MOSDOH will be one of only two dental schools in Missouri and the only dental school in the Midwest dedicated, at a mission level, to enhancing oral healthcare for the underserved.

Missouri Foundation for Health is an independent philanthropic foundation dedicated to improving the health of people in our region. MFH works as a changemaker, educator and partner to promote community health and increase access to care for the uninsured and underserved.

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Wright Center for Graduate Medical EducationA.T. Still University

 

New model addresses America’s shortage of primary care physicians and changes in federal funding for medical training

Mesa, AZ: February 19, 2013 – The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education (Scranton, PA) more than $4 million to launch a national family-medicine residency program in partnership with A.T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (Mesa, AZ). The groundbreaking multi-state, centrally run medical residency program will place up to 29 medical school graduates per year over three years (87 graduates) in community health centers around the country as part of a residency program in family medicine.

The new program is a potential model for residency programs across the country in that it addresses two of the nation’s most pressing healthcare challenges — the shortage of primary care physicians trained to work with America’s most vulnerable populations and the potential changes in federal funding which may leave thousands of new doctors without a place to complete their training.

The program’s objective is to create a pipeline of doctors trained to work with underserved rural and urban populations and in team-based practices that emphasize keeping entire communities healthy. With research showing that new doctors tend to practice in the communities where they have done their residencies, there is a glaring need to create opportunities for residents to train in these communities.

Unlike most residency programs, which both take place in and are managed by individual hospitals or medical centers, the Wright Center-ATSU collaboration will be a multi-state but centrally run effort spread among healthcare organizations in five states — Arizona, Ohio, Oregon, New York and Washington – and the District of Columbia.  The residency program will deliver an innovative curriculum with a strong community focus combined with comprehensive training and unique opportunities.

Applications for the new residency program are currently being reviewed. The 29 residents chosen to participate in the first year of the national family-medicine residency program will be divided among six community health centers located in medically underserved areas. The learning centers are the Virginia Garcia Memorial Healthcare Center (Hillsboro, OR), Lutheran Family Health Centers(Brooklyn, NY), HealthSource of Ohio (Milford, OH), HealthPoint (Renton, WA), the El Rio Community Health Center (Tucson, AZ) and Unity Health Care (Washington, DC).

Said Thomas McWilliams, DO, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at A. T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), who helped develop the program, “Residents will receive the benefits of modern ambulatory training coupled with carefully selected hospital training experiences using an innovative, nationally-accredited residency curriculum led and supervised by The Wright Center and A. T. Still University.”

He continued, “These residencies will serve as a model for a new paradigm for training physicians to function effectively within a rapidly evolving healthcare system.  Physicians trained in these programs will become leaders in shaping medicine in this country and will be a force to improve the health of individual patients as well as the overall health of their communities.”

Said Wright Center President and CEO Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD, “Since 2011, The Wright Center has acted as a teaching health center GME consortium spreading our rich tradition of academic excellence in an educational infrastructure throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. We are privileged to have the opportunity — through collaboration with A.T. Still University of Health Sciences’ Schoolof Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona — to nationalize our efforts.”

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About The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education
The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education (WCGME) is an independent 501(C) (3) not-for-profit ACGME/AOA-accredited residency sponsoring institution. The Wright Center’s dual mission is to provide excellence in Graduate Medical Education (GME) in an innovative and collaborative spirit in order to deliver high quality, evidence-based and patient-centered care. The organization was founded in 1976 in Scranton,Pennsylvania, to promote professional healthcare self-renewal and continuous quality enhancement of our regional community’s healthcare delivery system through GME. As a testimonial to its community-driven mission governance, the Wright Center is proudly recognized as the most significant regional primary care manpower renewal force and has 260 graduates, including 160 practicing primary care physicians. For more information visitwww.thewrightcenter.org.

About A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU)
Founded in 1892 and the country’s first osteopathic medical school, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) has grown into a comprehensive graduate health education institution with campuses in Mesa, Az., and Kirksville, Mo., as well as a broad range of distance-learning programs. ATSU offers graduate degrees in 14 healthcare disciplines, including osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, bioscience, public health, audiology and physical and occupational therapy. In keeping with its nonprofit mission to care for those with little or no access to healthcare, ATSU trains students to work in rural, inner-city and other underserved communities. For more information visit www.atsu.edu.

About ATSU School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA)
More than an osteopathic medical school, A. T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) is a team of clinicians, educators, and students who share a passion and commitment for whole person healthcare. Established in 2006, its unique curriculum integrates clinical presentation and extensive clinical experience into a relevant and applicable program of study. For more information visit www.atsu.edu/soma.

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Media Contacts:

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education
Brian Ebersole
ebersoleb@thewrightcenter.org
570.343.2383, ext. 2311

A. T. Still University of Health Sciences
Alix Friedman
afriedman@lakpr.com
212.329.1412
Linden Alschuler & Kaplan

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KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) recently approved a Year 2, $1,000,000 grant (effective April 1, 2012) to A.T. Still University (ATSU) to assist with further development of its new and innovative dental school based in Kirksville, Mo. MFH provided an initial Year 1, $500,000 grant award to ATSU to help the University complete its feasibility/planning phase. ATSU plans to open the dental school with its first class of 40 students in the fall of 2013, pending accreditation.

The goal of ATSU’s new Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) is to educate and produce a new generation of community-minded dentists who will help fill widespread oral healthcare workforce gaps, including practice in Community Health Centers (CHCs) and other safety-net settings to reach underserved patients.\Says Dr. Jack Magruder, ATSU president, “Adding the dental school to our ATSU Kirksville campus will not only enhance interprofessional education in our state, but also generate meaningful oral health outcomes, especially among Missouri’s most vulnerable populations. With this generous, ongoing support from MFH, we are confident that our dental program based in Kirksville—in partnership with Missouri’s CHCs—will be highly successful and will help fulfill the missions of both ATSU and MFH by bringing increased access to oral healthcare to our state’s most vulnerable populations.”

 Missouri has an emergent need for more oral healthcare providers, including dentists, particularly to care for high-risk populations. The state ranks near the bottom, 47th in the nation, in terms of residents with access to a dentist. Approximately 70 dentists are retiring each year in the state, while only about 45-50 are starting new dental practices. In essence, Missouri’s overall supply of dentists is falling, while the state’s population and demand for dentists are rising. ATSU’s intent is to respond to this growing gap in oral healthcare.

Christopher G. Halliday, DDS, MPH, has been selected as inaugural dean of ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health, effective July 1, 2012.  Dr. Halliday is one of the nation’s leading experts in oral/public health; he currently serves as rear admiral, assistant surgeon general, and chief of staff in the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Halliday earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from Marquette University School of Dentistry and his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He obtained his BA degree in Liberal Studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Dr. Halliday’s vast professional experiences include serving the underserved in areas as remote as Barrow, AK, for three years, and serving seven years with American Indian populations in New Mexico and Arizona. In several posts in Washington, D.C., he has been a leading advocate for access to dental care and to healthcare in general. He has dedicated his professional life to the underserved, which is an ideal fit with ATSU’s Missouri dental school mission. Dr. Halliday’s exemplary leadership record, philosophical commitment, and unprecedented expertise in the fields of oral/public health will enable ATSU-MOSDOH to reach its full potential.

 The emerging four-year Missouri dental curriculum is being modeled after the highly successful and innovative dental program at ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) in Mesa, Ariz. Using a modified ATSU-ASDOH instructional model, the first two years of the Missouri pre-clinical, interdisciplinary dental school curriculum will be based in a new 61,000-square-foot, $26 million, state-of-the-art educational facility—which is slated for completion in the spring of 2013. The final two clinical education years will be distributed and delivered at collaborating CHC partner sites throughout Missouri and beyond, which sets ATSU’s Missouri dental school model apart. This evidence-based, collaborative educational model is designed to maximize retention of graduating dentists in Missouri CHCs. Successful graduates will earn the DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree and a certificate in Public Health, the latter in cooperation with ATSU’s School of Health Management.

Adds President Magruder,“We remain grateful for the tremendous support from MFH to assist in the development of the Kirksville-based ATSU dental school, which has the potential to transform dental education at both the state and national levels.”

Once launched, ATSU-MOSDOH will be one of only two dental schools in Missouri and the only dental school in the Midwest dedicated at a mission level to enhancing oral healthcare for the underserved.

This grant is provided by the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH), an independent philanthropic foundation dedicated to empowering Missourians to achieve equal access to quality health services. Established in 2000, MFH has provided grant funding and education, and fostered community partnerships to promote health improvement, especially for the uninsured and underserved.

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MESA, Ariz. –The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) a $950,000  grant for pre-doctoral training in primary care. Frederic Schwartz, D.O., FACOFP, associate dean for ATSU-SOMA Community Campuses is principal investigator of the project; Mara Hover D.O., director of the ATSU-SOMA Clinical Affairs Unit is co-principal investigator.  “The project’s goals are to establish a master’s of public health (MPH) degree track for ATSU-SOMA trainees and to develop competency-based evaluation mechanisms for third- and fourth-year students’ clinical experiences,” said Dr. Schwartz.

ATSU-SOMA students spend three years completing their medical school education at one of 11 National Association of Community Health Center’s community campuses across the country.  Each community campus serves a unique population, which includes the homeless, migrant workers, uninsured families, and ethnically diverse patients in rural and urban settings.

“HealthSource of Mt. Oreb, Ohio and HealthPoint of Seattle, Wash., have already established articulation agreements with local colleges to enhance the referral of students who have both the ‘heart’ for service and the learning skills package for success in serving the underserved,” said Dr. Schwartz. Waianae Comprehensive Health Center in Waianae, Hawaii, is a partner with Honolulu’s Chaminade University in a similar agreement. All of the community campuses are working to enhance the training pipeline via articulation agreements.

“HRSA has been wonderfully supportive in recognizing our efforts to train physicians who will select needed specialties and begin practice in underserved communities,” said Thomas McWilliams, D.O., FACOFP, interim dean, ATSU-SOMA.  This grant expands opportunities in public health training and helps align our evaluation process with those that will be used during the student’s residency training.”

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Founded in 1892 as the nation’s first college of osteopathic medicine, A.T. Still University provides graduate level education in whole person healthcare. Recognized internationally for its integrated approach, ATSU equips students with the knowledge, compassion, and hands-on experience needed to address the body, mind, and spirit. The University now comprises the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, the School of Health Management, the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, the Arizona School of Health Sciences, and the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.

 

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Ninety-two newly minted doctors of osteopathic medicine have reserved their place in history as members of the inaugural graduating class of A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA).

On Friday, June 3, the inaugural ATSU-SOMA class of 2011 walked across the stage at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Ariz., to receive their diplomas – not in alphabetical order, but grouped according to the community health center campuses where they lived and studied for the last three years. ATSU-SOMA’s unique curricular model was fully accredited just days earlier by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).

Graduates will enter residencies across the country in July, with 83 percent going into National Association of Community Health Center (NACHC) needed specialties, including primary care. Fifteen ATSU-SOMA graduates will remain in Arizona for residency training.

“Today we share the success of the graduates as well as the success of the school,” said Kenneth Jones, D.O., FAOCR, ’83, vice chair of the ATSU Board of Trustees. “I personally am excited to be here with you today, because I was one of the 21 members of the board who approved the proposed new osteopathic medical school in 2005.”

In his address to the graduating class, SOMA Interim Dean Thomas McWilliams, D.O., FACOFP, ’76, noted that from day one, most of the inaugural class expressed a desire to help people as a main motivation for going into a career in medicine. “Your level of volunteerism and altruism [has been] remarkable,” said Dr. McWilliams. “We’ve done all that we can in our curriculum to promote and maintain this heart to serve the needy. I think that this is the true heart of SOMA.

“My parting request to you is that you keep this spirit alive during your residency and on into practice. Your healing touch is exactly what the nation needs at this place in time.”

The keynote speaker was Douglas Wood, D.O., Ph.D., ATSU’s senior vice president – academic affairs, and founding dean of SOMA. “You took a chance on this innovative, unproven medical school and look where we are today,” he said. “You are going to be wonderful osteopathic physicians. And I can tell you that I will forever owe you a debt of gratitude.”

Following the keynote address, ATSU President Jack Magruder, Ed.D., presented Dr. Wood a presidential proclamation of thanks and appreciation for his contributions to ATSU-SOMA, the profession of osteopathic medicine, and osteopathic medical education.

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