Macy Foundation Grant To Explore New Models For Dental Education

New York, NY- The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has awarded a three-year, $460,000 grant to the Center for Community Health Partnerships at Columbia University Medical Center to study the feasibility of changing the current system for educating dental students. The project will determine the support among dental educators, practitioners, and the larger community for new models of dental education and will assess the financial feasibility of these models.

Dental education is faced with serious financial and educational challenges because of declining public financial support and because of the need to incorporate important new scientific and technical knowledge into the curriculum. This grant will provide the resources needed to bring the leaders of American dentistry together to address these issues.

Howard Bailit, DMD, PhD and Allan Formicola, DDS, faculty in the Center for Community Health Partnerships at Columbia University Medical Center, will direct the project. Dr. Bailit is a research fellow and Dr. Allan Formicola is the vice dean for community health partnerships.

“The effectiveness of this nation’s oral health care system depends on having strong academic programs to educate dentists and to undertake the research needed to better prevent, diagnose, and treat oral diseases. We need to find approaches to educating dental students that are less costly, but at the same time will strengthen education and research programs,” noted Dr. Bailit.

Dr. Formicola stated that, “It is unrealistic to expect large increases in public funding to solve these problems. Further, the issue is not just money; dental schools need to restructure the educational system to meet the future needs of both students and society and to remain a research-based university discipline.”

Both Bailit and Formicola emphasized that the project will take into consideration some of the larger societal concerns with the dental care system – namely, large income disparities in access to oral health care and the lack of diversity in the dental workforce - in studying the potential feasibility of new educational models.

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, located in New York City, is dedicated to improving the education and training of health professionals to better serve and improve the health of the public.

The Center for Community Health Partnerships is dedicated to supporting academic-community partnerships focused on improving equitable health care. It achieves its objectives by addressing health care problems of the uninsured and underinsured in northern Manhattan, providing primary medical and dental services to all ages in Harlem


Allan Formicola, DMD, Howard Bailit, New York City