Spring 2015

Essential Connections

110420_5332_thomas021.JPGGreetings! I attended my younger daughter’s wedding in San Antonio toward the end of January, and I remember telling other guests about the relatively mild winter we were experiencing in Boston. Clearly, I spoke too soon! Over six weeks, through the middle of March, we experienced record snowfalls. Thankfully, the season has changed, and it is now spring.

The cover story in this issue, “One-Stop Health,” also speaks to a change that is occurring in the delivery of health care across the nation—the growth of full-service community health-care centers. Our story talks about two such clinics, in Boston and in Los Angeles, and the dental director at each is a Tufts alum.

The importance of the relationship between good oral health and good general health, underscored in Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General in 2000, has long been a tenet of our educational programs at Tufts School of Dental Medicine. Meaningful connections with the university’s medical and nutrition schools and our own medical and nutrition faculty have afforded our students a broad perspective of the intersection of health and oral health. These initiatives have been enhanced with the hiring of a director of interprofessional education at our school who has significantly expanded our inter- and intraprofessional experiences; forged new relationships with dental hygiene, physician assistant, nursing and pharmacy students and reinforced existing relationships with Tufts’ medical and nutrition students.

In addition to our excellent clinical training programs, this kind of multidisciplinary education is helping to prepare our graduates for their future in the changing landscape of oral health-care delivery.

Other stories in this issue further exemplify this theme, including one about our newly accredited oral medicine program and another about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the delivery of oral health care, particularly for children. The increasing realization by third-party payers that significant reductions in the cost of treating chronic systemic diseases, such as diabetes, can be achieved through preventive oral health care has led to the inclusion of these services in their plans.

The Fall 2014 issue of this magazine featured a cover story on Tufts Dental Facilities, a network of clinics across Massachusetts serving the needs of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities and providing our students with an unparalleled educational experience. I am delighted to share with you that this program has been recognized nationally with a Gies Award from the American Dental Education Association for Outstanding Achievement by an Academic Dental Institution. This is the third Gies award that the School of Dental Medicine has received in the past five years.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to recognize the efforts of a large group of faculty, staff and students, led by Nadeem Karimbux, associate dean for academic affairs, for our most successful site visit from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. My sincere appreciation to all. As always, I welcome your comments by phone (617.636.6636) or email huw.thomas@tufts.edu.

Huw F. Thomas, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Pediatric Dentistry

Top Stories

Dental Art & Science

Maxillofacial prosthodontists help their patients overcome disfiguring trauma and rebuild their lives

One-Stop Health

Dentists upstairs, physicians downstairs. Integrated community clinics make it easier to care for patients—and for patients to take care of themselves

Myth Busters

There’s a lot of dubious data about dental care out there. Our experts offer advice for helping your patients separate fact from fiction

Maze of Questions

Five years after the passage of health-care reform, its impact on dentistry remains muddled 

Total Body Treatment

Tufts joins a select group in launching residency program in oral medicine 

Editor's Picks

Horton Returns

Seuss collector comes back with more lost stories

His Mother’s Demons

A bittersweet memoir of growing up in the shadow of mental illness

Visionary Work

Cells from dental pulp could be used to treat sight-stealing macular degeneration

Professional Allies

New course educates dentists and hygienists in tandem

A Dental ‘Oscar’

Clinics for patients with special needs win national award