Clinic facilities

Pacific University to open dental clinic in Sacramento

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A Physician Assistant student practices exams at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. The school plans to open a medical and dental clinic in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento as early as 2024.

University of the Pacific

Pacific University plans to build an innovative new medical teaching clinic on its Sacramento campus that leaders say will provide a glimpse into the future of dental care — and indeed health care delivery in general. -.

“Our plan would include having not only dental students in Sacramento, but also our other health students – the (physician assistants), nursing students and our pharmacy students from the Long School of Pharmacy, as well as others providing primary care to the community right there on our Sacramento campus,” said Dr. Nader Nadershahi, dentist and dean of San Francisco-based University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Francis.

Nadershahi said he doesn’t know of any other dental school in the country that teaches with an integrated model like this, but he thinks it’s the next evolution in his field because of the importance of health. oral health for overall health.

“There are approximately $2.5 billion spent on ER visit costs for oral health problems that could have been avoided if people had been able to go to their oral care provider for preventative care” , explained Nadershahi. “It’s a heavy burden on our health care system. … On the other hand, there are over 30 million people who go to see their oral care provider but may not see their medical provider during the year.

Among health care thought leaders, there has been a lot of talk about integrating dentistry into patients’ medical homes, Nadershahi said, and as an innovator in the field of dentistry for the past 125 years, the University of the Pacific felt it was time to create a model for how this new type of health education would be delivered to dental school students.

“If we’re able to catch something, whether it’s oral cancer, high blood pressure or diabetes…that we can then refer to care, that could really reduce the impact on that person’s health and disease burden (progression),” says Nadershahi. “It could also really reduce the cost of more expensive downstream treatments these people might have to endure.”

University faculty will be able to research best practices for this collaborative healthcare model in a new building that Nadershahi hopes to begin constructing next year across from McClatchy Park on Fifth Avenue in the Oak Park neighborhood. If all goes as planned, the clinic will open in 2024.

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Dr. Nader Nadershahi, dean of UoP’s Arthur A. Dugoni Dental School, said he doesn’t know of any other dental school in the United States that integrates dental services with comprehensive medical care in a single facility. Courtesy of University of the Pacific

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Stephen Thorne, Founder and Managing Director of Pacific Dental Services: “This new center will serve as the future of oral health and is an example of dental-medical integration that will provide better healthcare for patients who will use this new incredible ease.’ Courtesy of University of the Pacific

University leaders announced this week that they had received $4 million main gift from stephen thorne and his wife, Pamela Thorne, to help establish the new teaching center, known as the Pacific Dental Services Health Care Collaborative. It will provide comprehensive health care services to the public in an integrated teaching and learning environment.

“Pacific Dental Services cares about supporting dentists and creating the perfect patient experience, but we also strive to mentor and help the next generation of healthcare professionals become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Stephen Thorne . “This new center will serve as the future of oral health and is an example of dental-medical integration that will provide better health care for patients who will use this amazing new facility.”

Founder and CEO of Pacific Dental Services, Thorne advocated for this collaborative model, Nadershahi said. This is something the Indian Health Service and many medical clinics serving uninsured patients and Medi-Cal beneficiaries have been using for some time. Research shows that this collaborative model has value not only for patients but also for the medical care team, Nadershahi said.

The Thornes’ donation kicks off fundraising efforts for the Oak Park Pacific Collaboration, and Nadershahi said he expects the facility to build will cost at least $50 million.

UOP dental know-how closer to home

Sacramento-area residents have long traveled to the Bay Area to get affordable dental care from students and faculty at the University of the Pacific clinics, but once that facility opens, it will allow thousands of people to seek treatment closer to home.

“We’re estimating somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000…overall healthcare patients, and maybe 10,000 of those will be dental-specific patients that we’ll be treating,” Nadershahi said. “To give you a comparison, in our clinic in San Francisco, we have about 120,000 patient visits, everywhere from pediatrics to our aging community and all walks of life.”

The new clinic will allow Pacific to add positions for about 30 students at its dental school, he said. In addition to dental, physician assistant, nursing and pharmacy students, Nadershahi said, there will also be learning opportunities for his students in occupational therapy, nutrition, social work and other health fields.

“This facility will allow Pacific to pave the way to a future that will require closer collaboration between dental and medical providers,” said Nicoleta Bugnariu, Dean of Pacific’s new School of Health Sciences. “We look forward to strengthening our ties with the Dugoni School of Dentistry, and our students are especially excited to be part of this new collaborative educational model. »

This collaboration should allow researchers at Pacific, and those at other institutions, to measure outcomes not only in terms of value, but also with the other three goals,” Nadershahi said.

“Healthcare spending in the United States is among the highest in the world,” he said, “and arguably our outcomes and our ability to reach diverse communities and the historically underserved members of our community have not not been as solid as they could be. And we’re looking to try to use these educational models to start meeting some of those needs.

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Cathie Anderson covers health care for The Bee. Growing up, her blue-collar parents paid for care out of their own pockets. She joined The Bee in 2002, with roles including business columnist and editor. She previously worked at newspapers such as Dallas Morning News, Detroit News and Austin American-Statesman.