MILWAUKEE – A new partnership between the Beloit Area Community Health Center and the Marquette University School of Dentistry (MUSoD) is preparing the next generation of dentists for the challenges they will face in their own practices, and is giving Beloit residents greater access to dental care.
The partnership, which replicates similar successful models in other parts of the state, gives Marquette students the opportunity to practice dentistry under the supervision of a preceptor, while providing high quality, low-cost dental care to underserved families in the Beloit area.
One third-year and one fourth-year Marquette dental student will work with patients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week.
“MUSoD is proud to have another partner in the state of Wisconsin where our students can learn in a community-based setting as well as provide high quality dental care,” MUSoD Dean William Lobb said. “We believe placing our students in a patient-centered environment provides the best possible clinical experience.”
Dr. Greg Ringler, chief dental officer for the clinic, said he is looking forward to giving Marquette students the opportunity to treat more patients, as are the clinic’s other dentists, both of whom are MUSoD alumni.
“We’re hoping it will be a great experience for the students, giving them a great range of patients to be exposed to,” said Ringler. “We’ve all been students in the past and we know what it’s like to have the opportunity to be off site and see a different aspect of dentistry. We’re all excited about the give and take of being able to learn from the students and in turn show them the field of community health.”
For students, learning in a community health clinic gives them the chance to work with patients who have more acute and chronic dental needs than if they were seeing patients more in a private practice setting. Students will see between four and five patients per day.
About half of the 180 dental patients the dental clinic sees each week are children. About 85 percent of the clinic’s patients receive Medicaid. The majority of the 15 percent not on Medicaid are uninsured and benefit from the center’s sliding fee schedule.
With the addition of the Beloit Clinic, Marquette dental students now have the opportunity to learn at seven community-based dental clinics, including three in Milwaukee that are operated by MUSoD.
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