MILWAUKEE — Delta Dental of Wisconsin has donated $2 million to the Marquette University School of Dentistry’s Building for the Future campaign for a planned expansion to the school. A portion of the gift, $500,000, is a challenge grant to help leverage additional support.
Delta Dental’s gift is the first of an $8 million capital campaign, which will match $8 million already committed from the State of Wisconsin in its 2011-2013 biennial budget. The university is currently in the design phase of this project and is actively committed to raising the remaining non-state matching funds.
The $16-million, 40,000-square-foot expansion will create additional clinical, lab and classroom space at the School of Dentistry’s Wisconsin Avenue facility in Milwaukee.
When the expansion is complete, the school will add enough clinical, lab and classroom space to accommodate classes of 100 students each year, up 20 from the current class size, for an annual enrollment of 400 students. Increased class sizes will enable Marquette to address proactively the future dental workforce needs of Wisconsin. More than 80 percent of Marquette’s dental graduates practice in the state, with alumni practicing in 69 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
As one of the first dental schools in the country to formally integrate research training into its pre-doctoral curriculum, the School of Dentistry’s expansion will include space for faculty and student translational and clinical research. Marquette dental faculty focus on research including health disparities among underserved populations in Wisconsin and around the world, orthodontics, clinical outcomes for patients, and radiology technology.
Central to the School of Dentistry’s innovative curriculum is a patient-centered approach that prepares students to work directly with patients early in their educational experience.
“This expansion keeps Wisconsin’s only dental school on the leading edge of dental education,” said Dr. William Lobb, dean of the School of Dentistry. “The Marquette University School of Dentistry is educating highly skilled and technologically savvy dental professionals who are capable of providing contemporary care long into the future.”
Delta Dental of Wisconsin has been a long-time partner of the School of Dentistry, having donated or pledged more than $7 million since 1998. In addition to supporting building initiatives, the Stevens Point-based dental-benefits organization has supported endowments, scholarships, fellowships, and the School of Dentistry’s practice placement coordinator, who helps place graduates in rural and underserved areas of Wisconsin. In 2005, Delta Dental supported the creation of the Rural Oral Health Fellowship Program at the Marquette School of Dentistry. Since then, six of the seven participating fellows have gone on to practice in rural Wisconsin.
“Delta Dental’s support has been invaluable, leading many of our initiatives,” Lobb said. “Delta Dental funds have allowed us to be innovative and directly contribute to increased access to care and efficient delivery of care to all patients served by Marquette dentists.”
“Our mission from day one has been to improve access to quality oral healthcare for all Wisconsin residents,” said Dennis Peterson, Delta Dental’s executive vice president. “Delta Dental’s support of the Marquette School of Dentistry’s efforts to ensure an adequate supply of dentists in Wisconsin now and in the future is crucial to the fulfillment of our mission.”
About Delta Dental of Wisconsin
Delta Dental of Wisconsin is a not-for-profit dental service corporation offering benefit services, claims processing, and plan administration to employers throughout Wisconsin since 1962. The company is headquartered in Stevens Point, with sales offices in Milwaukee and Madison, and provides benefits and services to more than 1.4 million subscribers and their family members. Delta Dental administers dental benefits for more Wisconsin companies than any other insurance carrier.
As a member of the nationwide Delta Dental Plans Association, the company is able to offer employees of Wisconsin-based companies the same dental benefits to wherever they are located in the United States. The Delta Dental Plans Association is the largest dental-benefits system in the nation. Its member companies provide benefits to more than 51 million people in 93,600 employer groups across the United States.
About Marquette University School of Dentistry
Founded in 1894, the Marquette University School of Dentistry is a fully accredited, nationally recognized school with a reputation for graduating highly skilled, caring dentists who give back to their communities. The School of Dentistry is Wisconsin’s only dental school.
One of the state’s largest dental Medicaid providers, the School of Dentistry treats more than 26,000 unduplicated patients annually in 64 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. The school operates a clinic on the Marquette campus and two others on the north and south sides of Milwaukee and is affiliated with four additional clinics serving underserved patients throughout the state.