University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine is a national standout for its innovation. CU Dental offers its students groundbreaking, high-tech educational tools and in doing so, transforms the mindset of students to create more insightful and thoughtful care providers.

A lot of the educational innovation is possible because of the support of Delta Dental Foundation of Colorado.

“Patients want integrated healthcare,” University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine Dean Denise Kassebaum, DDS, M.S. said. “They want their providers to understand all of their medical conditions.  Delta Dental of Colorado’s Foundation had the foresight a decade ago to realize that healthcare would be changing and that integrated healthcare would eventually be more the norm than the exception. With the transformative gift and programs that Delta Dental of Colorado is supporting, I know we’re making a difference in dentistry.”

CU dental students are learning the importance of working alongside other medical providers in order to offer the best possible care to patients. Delta Dental’s Frontier Center is part of the Inter-Professional Education program (IPE) which brings together dental, physical therapy, pharmaceutical and all other medical students, working collaboratively to improve their understanding about the body.

“It’s really important because currently we understand that healthcare is delivered by teams, that people have to rely on each other’s skills and knowledge to be able to work together for the benefit of the patient, and we can’t ignore the mouth,” Mark Deutchman, MD.  “If we can get the medical people thinking about oral health, and the oral health professionals thinking about the rest of the body and sharing information, it’ll be better for everybody.”

Dr. Deutchman is a family physician and instructor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“It was really cool in school to be in that kind of a collaborative environment where we got to go over cases that applied to all the specialties and all the different healthcare professions,” Danny Adler, DDS said. “It was great to see how different healthcare professions view certain situations differently, and how they all tie in together for the total patient experience.”

Dr. Adler graduated from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine in May 2019 and is now seeing patients at a public health clinic in a rural community in Louisiana. CU Dental got him ready to work in an inter-professional setting.

During the fourth year of dental school, students leave the Anschutz campus in Aurora for as much as six months for rotations at clinics in both urban and rural communities. The Advanced Clinical Training & Service Program (ACTS) is unmatched when it comes to the amount of hands-on experience dental students receive in professional settings prior to graduation. The professionals who work in those clinics sing the praises of the students coming from CU.

“The fact that CU students come out to our clinics and they’re asking questions about inter-professional care, ‘how are you talking to the doctors?’….. It is really powerful,”  An Nguyen, DDS, MPH said.

Dr. Nguyen is the Vice President of Dental Services at Clinics Family Health which provides medical, dental, behavioral health care and pharmaceutical service under one roof at five metro area locations.

“To have an organization like Delta Dental investing resources into making sure that we have a community of providers who are ready to do this work from day one, means that we can take care of more patients from day one,” Dr. Nguyen said. “I think we should be really proud of this investment. I think our patients are better for it.”

“Delta Dental is giving back to the dental community through their funding to the dental students,” Tamanna Tawari, BDS, MDs, MPH said.

Dr. Tawari works closely with the students as an assistant professor and researcher at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Tawari is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Delta Dental of Colorado.

“Delta Dental is preparing the future, who will go back into the community, and then work with those people that both Delta and the CU really cares about, the underserved who deserve quality care and good medical outcomes.”

“CU really opened my eyes to a side of dentistry I knew nothing about before I came here for school,” Maggie Chavez, DDS said. “I was able to work with other medical students, go on ACTS rotations in rural communities and I feel in love with rural dentistry. I love the community feel of providing good health care. I feel so lucky to have come here, and I feel like I am going to be a great dentist because of CU.”

Dr. Chavez graduated from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine in May 2019 and is currently caring for patients in her hometown of Alamosa.