- Information about the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH) and its guiding principles.
- Knowledge about service opportunities
- Education on current issues in dental/oral care and interprofessional integration
- Global connections will also be explored
- Dr. Jack Dillenberg personal insights and communications on oral and public health
The story of the Arizona School of Oral Health, ASDOH
After meetings between ATSU leadership and leadership of the National Association of Community Health Centers, discussion of the needs of community health centers proved a compelling need to fill vacant positions in CHC (Community Health Centers) throughout the US. The leaders determined that it wasn’t low salaries at CHC’s that hindered the filling of these positions, but rather a need to create a cadre of dentists willing to work in clinics for underserved populations. Many dentists who work in private practice simply are not interested in working with poor people.
The leadership team, along with Dr. Jack Dillenberg, worked together to create a model for a school that would train future dentists and community leaders. The guiding principle of a future dental school needed to be the selection of individuals with extensive community service thus creating graduates with the propensity to work with the underserved communities throughout the US. In order to achieve this, the traditional dental school curriculum and experience had to be changed. For example, to develop these future leaders in communities, a number of community dentistry experiences had to be integrated into the curriculum. This required extensive remodeling of the basic science curriculum.
The team chose to develop a module curriculum based on human health systems rather than on the traditional basic science systems. Module systems include reproductive health, cardiovascular health, and neurological health rather than classes in physiology, biochemistry and anatomy. Integrating the curriculum into weekly and biweekly modules with learning and testing on each module creates a comprehensive model allowing students to be prepared for taking the National Boards Part 1 after their first year of dental school. This frees up significant time for additional pre-dental education and dentistry in community activities.
In 2001, Dr. Jack Dillenberg was hired and the accreditation process began by convening a blue ribbon panel. After a discussion Dr. Dillenberg was asked to convene the blue ribbon panel and direct national dental and education experts to develop an innovative model to meet these needs. The first ASDOH class started at the new campus in Mesa, Arizona in 2003.