September 21, 2011
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
Several weeks ago, I traveled to Boise to celebrate the grand opening of our new Delta Dental of Idaho Dental Residency Clinic on the Idaho State University-Meridian Health Science Center campus.
Thanks to a $500,000 gift from Delta Dental of Idaho and a $1 million appropriation from the 2010 Idaho Legislature, a portion of the Center's west wing is now a full-service, state-of-the-art dental clinic that serves 400 patients a month and provides advanced education for newly licensed dentists.
I was joined at the podium by Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Delta Dental of Idaho President and CEO Jean De Luca. We were pleased to celebrate a partnership that will expand dental health services in the Treasure Valley and provide much-needed dental care for the underserved.
A highlight was touring the 5,200-square foot clinic with Dr. Chad Snow, one of four dentists enrolled this year in the Meridian residency program. The clinic has 12 clinical treatment rooms—two of which are surgical suites with videoconferencing capabilities. There are also an X-ray and sterilization lab, conference room and reception area.
When we designed the Meridian Health Science Center several years ago, we envisioned a medical, education and research facility under one roof that would foster collaboration between disciplines. The new clinic is an important step closer toward fulfilling that vision.
Idaho State University started the dental residency program on the Pocatello campus in 2000 and expanded the program to the Treasure Valley in 2005. It's the only program of its kind in the state.
Each year, the program admits eight dentists—four in Pocatello and four in Meridian—to complete 12 months of advanced education in general dentistry from oral surgery to endodontics. Fees are based on a sliding scale for patients who have no insurance or live on fixed incomes.
In the past decade, 77 dentists from across the country have completed the ISU residency, and I'm pleased to report more than half have stayed in Idaho or moved to a rural community to practice.
That thrills me because not only are we educating the next generation of the nation's dentists through our residency program, but we're providing quality dental care to thousands of Idahoans who would otherwise go without.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University