​AURORA, Colo. – The CU Sch​​ool of Dental Medicine ‘cut the ribbon’ to open two new clinical spaces and to unveil a symbolic sculpture.

The clinical space will increase access to education for more students and serve more patients. The school recently “popped the top” of the dental school on the Anschutz Medical Campus to accommodate a new clinical floor.

During ceremonies May 4, Provost Rod Nairn noted, “Not a single day of clinical education was lost during the expansion of the clinic environment.” (Photo above: l to r Denise Kassebaum, Rod Nairn, Don Elliman and Lilly Marks.)

The construction was completed on time and under budget. But this was no easy feat given that four existing clinics operated at ‘full steam’ during the construction. It was possible to add the space because of foundation work done when the facility was first built six years ago.

“The School of Dental Medicine is ‘Growing to Serve,'” said School of Dental Medicine Dean Denise Kassebaum, DDS. MS. “This, at a time when too many children go to school in dental pain and can’t learn, adults who are searching for work struggle because of visible unmet dental needs and elderly fail to meet basic nutritional needs because of poor oral health.”

The clinical expansion includes 66 new dental operatories, student learning spaces and offices on two different floors. The subsequent programmatic expansion that will enable more dental care providers to serve patients of all ages is built on an equally strong foundation of donors, distinguished alumni, as well as dedicated faculty and staff.

The two new clinical spaces will house two different clinics; the CU Dental Care Team Clinics on the fourth floor to serve additional adult patients and the CU Futures Clinic on the third floor that will house a CAD/CAM high technology restorative clinic, and an adolescent care clinic where interprofessional education can take place.

Currently, the school’s clinics see 65,000 patient visits each year. Through this expansion, the school will increase clinical visits by approximately 30 percent.

The School of Dental Medicine was able to stretch the construction budget of $10.8 million for the fourth floor and complete the enclosure of the third floor balcony all within the original project budget costs.

CU’s dental program accepts the largest number of Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) students than any other dental school. Students from Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming attend dental school at CU and return to their states to practice their profession.

Kassebaum expressed thanks to a number of individuals whose work contributed to the overall project. “Finally, I would like to thank the faculty, staff and students who contributed ideas and insights during the design phase, and graciously endured the noise etc. that comes with construction on an existing, highly functioning building. Specifically, I’d like to thank Dan Wilson and Mark Osvirk for their leadership with the renovation.”

“Synergy” sculpture unveiled at School of Dental Medicine

The School of Dental Medicine hosted a reception, ribbon cutting and dedication of a new sculpture, prominently displayed in the school lobby, to honor and commemorate the dental hygiene program that was an integral part of the school from 1973-2009.

The sculpture, “Synergy,” was designed by CU Denver College of Arts & Media student Kathia Segovia.

Dean Kassebaum recalled Gail Cross-Poline’s 30 years heading the program. “Gail has long been recognized as one of the nation’s excellent dental hygiene leaders; she was the first of our Colorado dental hygienists to be awarded the coveted Excellence in Dental Hygiene Award.”

The sculpture’s geometric design symbolizes teamwork, resilience, trust and leadership. The base represents the faculty and their important role in the program. The two blocks that arise from the base stand for the students and faculty, with six branches emerging that honor the 36-year program. The top shape exemplifies the patients served and the flame of knowledge that continues because of this program’s existence.

“Gail, you have changed many lives during your role as program director, and with our other esteemed dental hygiene faculty, positively impacted the profession of dental hygiene,” said Kassebaum, who also recognized Donna Stach and Terri Tilliss for their leadership as faculty and program directors.

PHOTO: Gail Cross-Poline (left) and faculty member Donna Stach at sculpture ribbon cutting.


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