Missouri Dental School

Dr. Halliday

Chris Halliday, DDS, MPH

Kirksville, Mo.– Christopher Halliday, DDS, MPH, dean, ATSU Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health, has been appointed to the State of Missouri’s student loan authority. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Dr. Halliday on Aug. 27 to serve on the board for the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).

Prior to becoming dean at ATSU-MOSDOH, Dr. Halliday served as chief of staff for the U.S. surgeon general and chief dental officer for the U.S. Public Health Service. He is also a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Dr. Halliday’s term on the MOHELA board ends Oct. 22, 2013. He will begin serving immediately but will need confirmation by the Missouri Senate when lawmakers return to the Capitol.


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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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Dr. Halliday

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – A. T. Still University is proud to announce that Christopher G. Halliday, D.D.S., M.P.H., will be the inaugural dean of the new dental school on its Kirksville campus, the Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health. He will begin his duties at ATSU on June 1.

Dr. Halliday, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), is the assistant surgeon general and chief of staff to the surgeon general of the United States. His previous experience includes director and chief dental officer of the Indian Health Service and chief professional officer of the dental category. During his term as chief dental officer of the USPHS, Dr. Halliday coordinated the delivery of oral health services by the Commissioned Corps Dental Officers from the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security.

He received his doctor of dental surgery from Marquette University School of Dentistry and his Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Public Health.

Dr. Halliday has dedicated his professional life to serving underserved populations. He has worked in areas as diverse as Barrow, AK, for three years, and American Indian reservations in New Mexico and Arizona for seven years. In several posts in Washington D.C., he has worked tirelessly to bring dental and medical services to people who would otherwise not receive them.

“We are very fortunate that Dr. Halliday is joining ATSU, leading the establishment of our new dental school in Missouri,” said ATSU President Jack Magruder. “He will bring tremendous expertise to making the Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health an unqualified success. I am very pleased to begin working with him in Kirksville.”

Dr. Halliday is the recipient of numerous awards and honors from the Public Health Service and Indian Health Service, including an Isolated Hardship Award, a Commendation Medal, an Outstanding Service Medal, and the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal.

Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., surgeon general of the United States said, “He will have an opportunity to share his passion of service to the underserved and vulnerable populations with his students. I will personally miss his dedication and commitment to the welfare of the Office of the Surgeon General.”

The Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health’s inaugural dean is a member of the Commissioned Officers Association, American Dental Association, American Association of Public Health Dentistry, American Dental Education Association, and a fellow in the American College of Dentists.

Dr. Halliday will attend the groundbreaking for ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health on the Kirksville campus of ATSU on March 15.


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KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – At a meeting Saturday in Kirksville, the A.T. Still University (ATSU) Board of Trustees approved a $26 million bond issue for constructing and equipping a new building on the Kirksville campus of ATSU to establish the Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health. This positive decision by the board is a critical step toward matriculating 40 students in the fall of 2013. The 61,000-square-foot facility, on two floors, will be an interprofessional education and dentistry school building to house not only the dental school, but also space for medical school students from ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In addition to approving the bond issue for construction and equipment, the board also endorsed a change from a dental program (distant-site branch campus) under ATSU’s highly successful Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) to a stand-alone school of dentistry and oral health. This new approach will allow the Kirksville school more flexibility and enhance the process of accreditation by CODA (the national Council on Dental Accredition), according to ATSU-ASDOH Dean Jack Dillenberg.

Carl G. Bynum, D.O., M.P.H., board chair presiding over the meeting, called the decision “a major move forward in establishing a new ATSU dental school in Missouri that will have lasting benefits for the citizens of Kirksville and for the underserved population of the state. I am very pleased to be a part of this process and excited about the future as the school takes shape.”

Added Dr. Jack Magruder, ATSU President, “I am grateful to the board for their guidance and encouragement during the many months of developing the dental school and am extremely proud of what we have accomplished so far and will accomplish in the future. A dental school based in Kirksville will have a tremendous positive impact on the city and state and will graduate highly competent and caring professionals who will carry out our mission and vision to serve the underserved. This was a great weekend for all of us, and I look forward to construction of the facility with confidence and enthusiasm.”

Construction on the Interprofessional Education & Dentistry School Building is expected to begin in spring 2012, to be located on ATSU property facing Jefferson Street east of existing University buildings. The design and plans for the building have been developed by Cannon Design, an architectural firm based in St. Louis.

President Magruder thanked the many generous people and organizations who have contributed funds to help make the school happen, including Community Friends for ATSU Dental, the Missouri Foundation for Health, and the numerous individual faculty, staff, and friends of ATSU who believe in the project.

The next step for the Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health will be accreditation from CODA, a process that the University will begin right away. No students can be recruited or admitted until accreditation is achieved. Dean Dillenberg has “a high level of confidence that accreditation will occur in a timely fashion.” In addition, ATSU will continue to work on establishing partnerships with community health centers for clinical training of the dental students.

View the proposed architectural drawings.


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