The Carilion Clinic Foundation and Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation today announced the creation of a new partnership and funding agreement that will expand children’s oral health care services in the region through the development of a pediatric dental residency program at Carilion Clinic. In addition to investments by Carilion, the Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation is funding a $2 million endowment to provide annual programming support in perpetuity. The program and funding agreement were created in direct response to the nationwide shortage of oral health services for underserved and vulnerable populations; a need echoed in our region.
“The majority of southwest Virginia is considered to have a dental health professional shortage and our regional safety-net clinics are in desperate need of relief and support,” said Frank Lucia, Delta Dental of Virginia president and chief executive officer. “We continue to search out unique opportunities to strengthen our partnership with Carilion and leverage the capabilities of our two organizations to benefit the communities we serve.”
Carilion’s pediatric dentistry practice is already one of the busiest in southwest Virginia, serving approximately 10,200 patients annually. The addition of two pediatric dental residents will allow the clinic to provide preventative and restorative dental care for thousands of additional children each year.
“Access to dental care shows up repeatedly as a top need in our Community Health Assessments,” said Nancy Howell Agee, president and chief executive officer of Carilion. “Through our continued partnership with Delta Dental of Virginia, we’re addressing this longstanding need by training the next generation of dentists and attracting more talent to our community.”
The newly created residency will be housed inside Carilion Clinic Dental Care at Tanglewood, providing young professionals an opportunity to work with the latest in modern dental care technology and infrastructure. The program will provide residents growth, development and education opportunities in orthodontics, craniofacial structures, behavior management, care of patients with special needs and multidisciplinary care.
This program joins 29 other nationally accredited graduate medical education programs offered at Carilion. They include 13 residencies and 16 fellowships involving 340 trainees.
“We are excited to teach the next generation of pediatric dental experts, while also introducing them to our community,” said Lee Jones, D.M.D, chief of dentistry at Carilion. “Best case scenario is that our residents not only receive the best-in-class, hands-on education available, but that they also grow to love our region and continue to have a positive impact on patients in the Roanoke Valley and beyond for years to come.”
Delta Dental of Virginia and Carilion have partnered for more than a decade on various oral health education and community impact initiatives, including the development of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s annual Oral Health Lecture series, a previous endowment to create the first oral health curriculum in a U.S. medical school, and most recently the creation of the LIFT Center at Fallon Park Elementary.