As Wisconsin’s only dental school, the Marquette University School of Dentistry has a responsibility and a long-standing commitment to educating the state’s future dentists and promoting oral health statewide. This expansion provides MUSoD with additional clinic space and the ability to accommodate more students, all of which means the dental school is able to provide more clinical services to underserved patients at its three Milwaukee sites and four rural clinic partnerships around the state.
According to a recent Wisconsin Dental Association workforce study, 52 percent of Wisconsin’s professionally active dentists are between the ages of 50 and 64. As the state’s partner in dental education since 1973, MUSoD believes it is in the best interest of the state of Wisconsin to be proactive in addressing the long-term dental workforce demands.
The expansion includes equipment upgrades that enables the school to respond to technological advances and the rapidly expanding knowledge the profession demands.
Expanded clinical and research space helps MUSoD attract and retain world-class faculty.
MUSoD was at capacity and could not simply enlarge its class size for two reasons: the capacity of the simulation lab and the limitations imposed by a lack of clinic space functions in the existing facility.
There were 80 simulation stations located in the lower level of the existing facility. The addition of just a student or two more created a significant disruption in the learning environment. The upgraded lab has 104 stations.
Further, there are no facilities elsewhere on Marquette's campus that could have accommodated the School of Dentistry’s needs. An expansion was the most feasible and cost-effective way to meet demands.
This same study reveals that 52 percent of Wisconsin’s professionally active dentists are between the ages of 50 and 64, and these numbers correlate with the time period in which MUSoD and other dental schools across the country had significantly larger class sizes. As such, MUSoD believes it is in the best interest of the state to be proactive in addressing the long-term dental workforce demands. Under the expanded class size, it is likely that the first class of 100 would not graduate from MUSoD until 2017 or 2018.
Further, MUSoD continues to play a role as one of the state’s largest Medicaid providers and will now be able to provide additional oral health care services. MUSoD has the dual purpose of providing direct oral health care services to Wisconsin citizens today and preparing the dental workforce to provide such services in the future.