Columbia School Of Dental And Oral Surgery Receives Grant For Dental Assistant Training Program

New York, NY – May 16, 2002 – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has granted $384,900 over two years to the Columbia School of Dental and Oral Surgery to enhance its Dental Assistant Training Program (DATP). The program plans to hire additional faculty, and strengthen applicant recruitment by providing emergency daycare assistance for students.

The DATP is one of many community initiatives the school has undertaken to improve access to oral health care for the Harlem and Washington Heights/Inwood communities of northern Manhattan. The one-year, tuition-free program trains local residents – many of whom begin the program unemployed or underemployed – into the skilled work force, thereby increasing the productivity of area oral health providers.

The only program of its kind in the New York City area, the DATP is in its fourth year and boasts 52 graduates; all were residents of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, which financed the program’s first three years. With the exception of six students who entered more advanced educational programs, all graduates are employed as dental assistants, mostly in northern Manhattan.

Letty Moss-Salentijn, D.D.S., Ph.D., academic director of the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, calls the program an “unqualified success.”

“In the four years this program has been in existence, the quality of the training program has been excellent,” she says. “The graduates, many of whom would not have sought careers in an allied health field, have gone on to become licensed and now serve as qualified members of dental health teams in their communities.”

“We have been thrilled with the success of this program in its first three years,” says Program Director Dr. Marlene Klyvert, assistant dean of the School of Dental and Oral Surgery. “And it is gratifying that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognizes the positive impact this program has been having on both the state of employment and of oral health care in northern Manhattan neighborhoods.”



DATP, Letty Moss Salentijn, Marlene Klyvert, Program Director Dr