University of Oklahoma Receives Delta Dental
Grant for Dental Clinic on OU-Tulsa Campus
The University of Oklahoma has received a $2 million gift from Delta Dental of Oklahoma and Delta Dental of Oklahoma Foundation to the OU College of Dentistry to fund a dental clinic on the OU-Tulsa campus.
In recognition of this gift, the clinic will be named the OU College of Dentistry Delta Dental of Oklahoma Comprehensive Care Clinic and will serve as a center for student learning where College of Dentistry students provide dental care to community members in need of affordable services.
“This exceptional gift from Delta Dental of Oklahoma and its Foundation strengthens our shared commitment to elevating the overall health of our state – an ambition that will be realized through this new dental clinic,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “For more than 50 years, the OU College of Dentistry has provided essential dental services to Oklahomans, and this new clinic will expand this tradition to the northeastern corner of our state. We are deeply grateful to Delta Dental for being equally devoted to increasing access to high-quality dental care to more Oklahomans in what will become a top-tier learning environment for our dental students.”
The new clinic, the first of several OU College of Dentistry clinical extensions anticipated throughout the state, will offer comprehensive oral health care services to patients of all ages. Care will be provided by third- and fourth-year dental students under the supervision of licensed dental faculty members.
“As the state’s only not-for-profit dental benefits provider, Delta Dental of Oklahoma is proud to stand with the University of Oklahoma at the forefront of dental education and treatment,” said John Gladden, president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Oklahoma. “The OU College of Dentistry is an invaluable partner in helping Delta Dental of Oklahoma fulfill its not-for-profit mission to improve the oral health of all Oklahomans.”
Expected to open later this summer, the 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art clinic is currently under construction within the OU Health Physicians Schusterman Center Clinic building on the OU-Tulsa campus.
“OU-Tulsa is pleased to welcome the College of Dentistry to the Schusterman Center campus,” said James J. Sluss Jr., OU-Tulsa interim president. “The Schusterman Clinic is uniquely suited to host this learning experience for OU dentistry students given our long history of community engagement and providing health care, and now dental care, to Tulsans. This exciting new investment from our partners at Delta Dental supports OU students and the Tulsa community, and contributes to making northeastern Oklahoma an even better place to learn, live and work.”
Over the last five years, the OU College of Dentistry at the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City has provided dental and emergency care to more than 285,000 patients. Nearly one-quarter of those patients travel from the northeastern part of the state to receive care, and many people living in northeastern Oklahoma do not have access to dental care within a 30-mile radius.
“The OU College of Dentistry is incredibly grateful to Delta Dental of Oklahoma and its Foundation,” said Paul M. Mullasseril, D.D.S., M.S., dean of the college. “This transformational gift will not only help to build a state-of-the-art dental clinic on the OU-Tulsa campus, it will also help our college fulfill its primary role of improving the oral health of Oklahomans and expanding access to high-quality dental care at a more affordable cost.”
As the state’s only doctor of dental surgery program, the OU College of Dentistry has trained more than 73% of Oklahoma’s currently practicing dentists. As part of their education, OU dental students and residents provide necessary oral health care to Oklahomans – an effort that has long been supported by Delta Dental of Oklahoma and its Foundation.
“The Delta Dental of Oklahoma Comprehensive Care Clinic will not only improve access to care for patients, but will also be a valuable training ground for future dental professionals for generations to come,” said Terrisa Singleton, Delta Dental of Oklahoma Foundation director.
C. Rieger Wood III, D.D.S., a native Tulsan and graduate of the OU College of Dentistry, will serve as the director of clinical operations for the Tulsa clinic. Wood, who has served as a faculty member at the College of Dentistry since 2006, previously served as chair of the first Oklahoma Mission of Mercy, a free dental clinic offering treatment to patients who are uninsured, under-insured or would normally not have access to dental care.
“It is an honor to have been selected to lead the expansion of the College of Dentistry in Tulsa,” said Wood. “As a native of Tulsa, it is especially gratifying to bring the high-quality dental services we provide in Oklahoma City to underserved communities in northeastern Oklahoma. I appreciate Delta Dental of Oklahoma and its Foundation for partnering with the college in that effort.”