Showing posts with label dental school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dental school. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2012

Trustees who want Brogan to push FAMU president around should step aside

Back when Chancellor Adam Herbert refused to support Sandy D’Alemberte’s bid for a medical school, Florida State University supporters didn’t tell their president to do a better job of getting along with him. They rallied behind legislation that axed Herbert’s job and authorized a medical school in spite of him.

FAMU President James H. Ammons’ decision to push for a College of Dental Medicine has left him on bad terms with Chancellor Frank Brogan and the Florida Board of Governors (BOG). Even though the FAMU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Ammons' dental school proposal, the results of the presidential evaluation show that some trustees are getting cold feet. An anonymous group of trustees has a problem with the fact that the chancellor, who is one of the biggest adversaries of the dental school, clearly isn't a fan of Ammons.

In Ammons’ 2010-2011 evaluation, his lowest score came for his relationship with the State University System of Florida (SUS) chancellor and BOG. The evaluation results were split, overall. According to the Associated Press, consultant Edward Penson “told trustees he had never seen such variation in any other collegiate job review he's worked on.”

If Ammons continues to stand behind proposals like the FAMU dental school, he has no chance of getting along with Brogan. The trustees who want Ammons to be liked by the chancellor do not want FAMU to have a president who  was as strong as D’Alemberte.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FAMU suffering from lost opportunities caused by low-quality trustees

Back while the University of South Florida and Florida Atlantic University were hammering out plans for big new health science schools, FAMU was stuck with trustees like Bill Jennings who let an out-of-control interim administration nearly sink the institution.

James H. Ammons made it clear during his presidential interviews in 2007 that he wanted to help FAMU catch up by establishing a College of Dental Medicine. But his first years as FAMU’s leader were consumed with cleaning up the accreditation and financial messes that Jennings and his buddies permitted the previous administration to create.

FAMU ended up missing a critical window of opportunity to get public support for a dental education program. Former Sen. Alfred “Al” Lawson worked hard to push a legislative authorization bill for the college after Ammons was finally able to dedicate greater attention to the proposal in 2009. He also had creative ideas for obtaining a building to house the school.

But by 2009, the Great Recession was in full swing and Public Education Capital Outlay funds were starting to dry up. Lawson was also heading toward the end of his term limit and had little to time to cut the deals necessary to bring home another big set of budgetary earmarks for his alma mater.

At that same time USF and FAU, which did not have to deal with low-quality trustees like Jennings, were well on their way to beefing up their health science program offerings. USF received approval for its new College of Pharmacy in 2008 and FAU received approval for its new College of Medicine in 2010. Those two schools are now well on their way to hauling in big revenue in tuition dollars and multi-million dollar federal grants for those two universities.

Jennings could have chosen to make fundraising and lobbying for the dental school proposal his top priority during his last year as chairman from 2010 to 2011. But he seemed to dedicate much greater energy to his bitter, behind-the-scenes battles with Ammons over issues such as the super-majority clause in the presidential contract.

FAMU has had a long-running problem with trustees who give more time and attention to ego-driven bickering inside the university than working to help FAMU compete for a bigger slice of the statewide funding pie. The chance to make headway on a College of Dental Medicine before the Great Recession is just one of the opportunities FAMU has lost because of such individuals.

If FAMUans do not get sick and tired of this type of trustee behavior, the university will continue to miss out on important time-limited opportunities to build upon its academic mission.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FAMU places dental school request on hold

As expected, FAMU’s detailed proposal for a College of Dental Medicine received a cold shoulder from the Florida Board of Governors Strategic Planning Committee last month. Now, FAMU is tabling its dental school request and, instead, seeking support for an academic partnership that will annually pipeline a dozen of its talented graduates into the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry.

Donald Palm, FAMU assistant vice-president of academic affairs, says that FAMU will push for a dental school in the future.

“The dream’s still alive,” he told the Tallahassee Democrat. “It’s just on hold.”

If approved and funded, the FAMU-UF dental education diversity partnership will add 12 FAMU graduates to UF’s first year-class of 80 dental students, taking the total to 92. UF College of Dentistry Teresa Dolan estimates that the program will cost several million dollars per year.

"One of the main goals is to enhance diversity," Dolan said. "By increasing our class size it allows us to participate in the pipeline, but also assign more students to community-based learning."

BOG members have said they are worried that there is not enough money available to start a new, expensive dental program.

“The Board of Governors is extremely fearful — extremely fearful — of approving any project that, in the long run, could come back and affect us financially because we just don't have the money,” BOG member Mori Hosseini told the Orlando Sentinel.

Even though Florida’s higher education budget has been shrinking since 2007, it did not stop the BOG from approving a new pharmacy school for the University of South Florida in 2008 and a new medical school for Florida Atlantic University in 2010.

Monday, September 26, 2011

FAMU dental school will create 1,000 new well-paying jobs for Panhandle

The FAMU College of Dental Medicine will create nearly 2,100 short-term jobs in the Florida Panhandle during its initial development. After that, its annual operation will sustain about 1,000 new well-paying jobs in the region on a permanent basis.

Over a ten year period, the development and operation of FAMU’s dental school will result in 3,127 short-term or sustained jobs in the Panhandle and a total of $775M in economic activity.

The economic activity figure includes the money for construction of the education facilities, annual operations, student living expenses, and visitor expenses.

These job creation and economic impact projections, which come from FAMU’s dental school proposal, were developed using the input-output methodology and economic multipliers from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

FAMU’s dental educational delivery program will create jobs through its focus on expanding the Panhandle’s dental safety net system, which consists of the Federally Qualified Health Centers and County Health Department Clinics that serve low-income patients. About 65 to 75 percent of the cost for the work done by these safety net clinics is subsidized by non-State sources such as the federal government.

Through its dental training operation, FAMU will help these safety net clinics increase their respective capacities. FAMU’s advanced dental students, residents, and professors will treat patients at these sites. This will open the way for about 100,000 additional men and women to receive care and create new jobs for the region.

As the safety net clinics expand and current dentists retire, FAMU will become the top source for new dentists at these centers. FAMU will use a targeted recruitment program and a low tuition rate to help enroll students who are likely to work in such facilities after they earn their degrees.

Medicaid dentists employed by safety net clinics will find it easier to make a living than those in private practices. According to FAMU’s proposal: “These safety net clinics receive higher Medicaid reimbursement rates from the State than private practitioners, and they receive federal grants. Further, they are paid per visit rather than per service. As a result, most are able to provide basic dental services to low-income patients.”

The Florida Panhandle region that will be serviced by FAMU’s dental school consists of the following 22 counties: Leon, Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital offers to house FAMU dental school

FAMU is reassessing the estimated $42M price tag for its proposed College of Dental Medicine building in light of a generous offer from Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH). TMH wants to house the dental school and help raise money for the facility.

Howard Bailit, FAMU’s dental school consultant, announced the news during the university’s presentation before the Strategic Planning Committee of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) on September 14.

“We’ve had a very interesting offer from Tallahassee Memorial Hospital,” Bailit said. “They had donated land to us. But now they’re saying, ‘Why don’t you locate your dental school right on our medical campus?’”

Bailit said that FAMU has not had time to fully examine this new option. But he thinks the potential arrangement could provide numerous benefits to FAMU’s future program.

“They have a first rate medical campus there," Bailit said. "And they will help us raise the money for this facility.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

City, county contributions to FAMU dental school will be an investment in local jobs

Leon County began bleeding jobs ten years before the Great Recession got into full swing in 2008 when newly elected Gov. Jeb Bush and the GOP legislature started chopping away at state departments.

Those job losses have only gotten worse over the past 12 years as Florida Democrats have consistently failed to mount strong gubernatorial campaigns or gain significant seats in the state House or Senate.

The simple reality is that the Democrats are unlikely to regain control of the governor’s office or either chamber of the legislature in the near future. That makes it all but certain that the state jobs which are central to the Leon County economy are going to continue to disappear.

Now is the time for the City of Tallahassee and Leon County to invest in the health care sector, which the U.S. Department of Labor predicts will be the leading source of new jobs in upcoming years. The $10M contribution dental school contribution that FAMU has requested from the local government will be a big investment in job creation.

During the September 14 Strategic Planning Committee meeting of the Florida Board of Governors, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks confirmed the city and county’s favorable responses to FAMU’s request.

“The university has asked us to commit $5M each,” Marks said. “We have committed that we will do that either in direct funding or in-kind dollars. So that’s $10M that our community has committed to this effort…We truly believe that this will enhance our community in many ways.”

Friday, September 16, 2011

BOG committee postpones vote on dental school proposals

Yesterday, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) decided to postpone making any recommendations on the three dental school proposals it reviewed.

FAMU and the University of Central Florida are requesting authorization to launch brand new Colleges of Dental Medicine. The University of Florida wants BOG support for its plan to expand its existing College of Dentistry.

As expected, the BOG reacted coolly toward the proposals. Its staffers have concluded that there are already enough dentists in the state.

“You didn't make your case on need and you didn't make your case on solutions to a need,” Chancellor Frank Brogan told FAMU, UCF, and UF officials.

FAMU’s proposal did specifically address the need for more dentists to serve rural citizens and Medicaid patients, facts which are backed up by data from a recent study by the Florida Department of Health.

BOG members also said they are worried that there is not enough money available to start new, expensive dental programs. Even though Florida’s higher education budget has been shrinking since 2007, it did not stop the BOG from approving a new pharmacy school for the University of South Florida in 2008 and a new medical school for Florida Atlantic University in 2010.

UCF’s dental school proposal attracted particularly strong criticism from the BOG committee for its high projected tuition price tag and failure to include a plan for collaborating with the nearby UF. UCF President John C. Hitt said UCF representatives will meet with UF officials in the coming weeks to talk about a possible partnership.

The BOG will take up the dental school proposals once again at its November meeting.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

UCF wants time to tweak and resubmit dental school proposal

FAMU’s detailed proposal for a College of Dental Medicine has proved to be a tough act for the University of Central Florida to follow. UCF President John C. Hitt now wants time to tweak and resubmit his dental school plans to the Board of Governors (BOG).

Hitt’s announcement followed tough questioning from the BOG Strategic Planning Committee during yesterday’s meeting in Miami.

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Hitt told the newspaper that the committee’s response to UCF’s proposal “was not encouraging.”

The committee asked, for example, why UCF has not come forward with a plan to collaborate with the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry. FAMU’s proposal included a letter of support from UF. Florida State University and FAMU have also outlined an agreement to share facilities and team up on the basic sciences curriculum for the new Tallahassee-based dental school.

"I think we have preached partnership and collaboration," committee member Norman Tripp said. "There is an opportunity here to bring two wonderful universities together [UF and UCF] and have them partner so they both get the best of both worlds."

Hitt said UCF representatives will meet with UF officials in the coming weeks to talk about a possible partnership.

UCF’s high projected tuition price tag, made necessary by its pledge not to seek state funding, also attracted sharp criticism from the committee. FAMU plans to charge less in tuition than UF in order to help attract and enroll students from underrepresented minority groups.

The BOG Strategic Planning Committee did not vote on any recommendations, yesterday. It will continue its discussion on the three dental education-related proposals from FAMU, UCF, and UF today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dental school presentations go before BOG committee today

A Florida Board of Governors (BOG) committee will hear FAMU’s dental school proposal presentation during its meeting today in Miami. FAMU’s bid for a College of Dental Medicine recently picked up support from the Tallahassee City Commission and Leon County Commission, which both passed resolutions that endorsed the university’s request.

The University of Central Florida will also make a pitch for its own dental school today, which it says it will build and operate without any state funding. The University of Florida plans to solicit the BOG’s support for expanding its current College of Dentistry.

Up to this point, the BOG has been cool toward the idea of establishing a new public dental school. Its staffers have concluded that there are already enough dentists in Florida.

A recent report by the Florida Department of Health says that although the state will have enough dentists to serve the needs of its population in upcoming decades, rural counties and Medicaid patients will continue to be underserved. Low Medicaid reimbursement rates are a major reason behind the lack dental service to Florida’s poorer residents.

FAMU plans to use a targeted recruitment program and a low tuition rate to help enroll students who are likely to open practices in rural counties and treat Medicaid patients.

Monday, August 29, 2011

FAMU and FSU to collaborate on new dental school

The Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine is prepared to work collaboratively with a future FAMU College of Dental Medicine.

FSU Medical School Dean John P. Fogarty says his college is interested in sharing facilities such as its anatomy dissection laboratory and Clinical Skills and Simulation Center with the FAMU dental school. He added that FSU medical faculty could also participate in the College of Dental Medicine’s early basic science curriculum. Both of those collaborative efforts would reduce FAMU’s overhead costs.

“I believe that we share a common vision to produce clinicians for the underserved here in Florida, particularly in the panhandle,” Fogarty wrote in a letter of support for FAMU’s dental school proposal.

Fogarty also said that FSU could pipeline undergraduate minority baccalaureate recipients into FAMU’s dental program, which would pump tuition dollars into the new college.

FSU is not the only state university that submitted a supportive letter for inclusion in FAMU’s dental school proposal. University of Florida (UF) Provost Joseph Glover also offered some favorable comments.

“We do not believe that establishment of this new College would impinge on the educational programs currently in place at the UF College of Dentistry (although we are concerned about potential dilution of state funding for dental education),” Glover wrote. “Its establishment would increase the pool of trained dentists in the state.”

View Dean Fogarty and Provost Glover’s letters after the jump.

Monday, August 22, 2011

FAMU sees recruiting, low tuition as keys to producing more Medicaid dentists

If approved by state officials, FAMU's future College of Dental Medicine will use a targeted recruitment program and a low tuition rate to help enroll students who are likely to open practices in rural counties and treat Medicaid patients.

Recruitment

The university’s detailed proposal for a College of Dental Medicine directly addresses the findings of a recent Board of Governors study that pointed out that Florida’s “low Medicaid reimbursement rates are the primary reason that dentists do not participate in the Medicaid program and, in turn, provide care to rural, poor, and minority populations.”

Florida Medicaid is the primary payer for oral health services for the state’s poor citizens. Statistics cited in FAMU’s proposal show that “fewer than 15 percent of Florida dentists treat Medicaid patients.”

FAMU’s dental school will tackle this problem by recruiting most of its students “from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds (low-income families and underrepresented minorities).” The students will also receive the majority of their clinical education in Florida’s rural counties. According to the proposal: “Graduates are much more likely to practice in rural community clinics and private practices and serve more disadvantaged patients, if they are raised and trained in these communities.”

The proposal adds that the “lack of diversity is a significant problem in meeting the oral health needs of Florida’s diverse population. For example, 40 percent of African-American dentists see significant numbers of Medicaid patients compared to 11 percent of White dentists. The workforce needs to reflect the diversity of the population it serves.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

Universities Prepare Dental School Pitches


Florida A&M University and the University of Central Florida are poised to ask the State University System governing board for permission to start a dental school – despite a recent health department report that questions whether there is a need for more dentists.

Last week, in preparation for a September board meeting, both submitted formal requests with the Board of Governors to start new dental schools. These requests are pitting several universities against each other in the quest to lure dental school students and research dollars.

Both face what could be an up hill battle. The Board of Governors has been studying the issue for months and last month it staff said there are enough dentist in Florida.


Monday, August 08, 2011

Detailed dental school proposal en route to BOG

The FAMU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a detailed proposal to offer a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at FAMU. This proposal now goes before the Florida Board of Governors for consideration.

The proposal addresses the need for a new college of dental medicine in Florida and addresses the disparities regarding access to dental services, workforce diversity, dental education models, including operating and capital costs, and plans for creating a College of Dental Medicine.

Last week, the trustees heard from President James H. Ammons, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Hughes Harris, Donald Palm, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at FAMU, and Howard Bailit, the consultant for the project who is professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and former chair of the Department of Health Administration and Policy at Columbia University.

Bailit noted during his presentation the community-based model would place students in community clinics and in real care systems, where the students would gain more clinical experience. The faculty would teach and practice in the clinics. According to Bailit, this model is less expensive than the traditional model, where students gain experience in teaching labs.

Balit emphasized that this model will have a positive impact on providing dental services, especially in the rural communities. The proposal envisions that a large number of potential students would be from disadvantaged, low-income families, rural communities and underrepresented minorities. The proposal also addresses estimated costs of the College and potential funding opportunities.



Because of its innovative, community-based clinical education model, the College of Dental Medicine will require much less State support than traditional schools. An annual operating subsidy of about $10.3M will be needed. This is substantially less than state support for dental schools of this size nationally and in Florida.

The next step in the approval process is the submission of the proposal to the Florida Board of Governors at its next meeting in September 2011.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

UF hits fast lane in black dental student recruitment



Four years after James Ammons first announced his desire to establish a FAMU College of Dental Medicine, the University of Florida has now unveiled a multi-million dollar plan to expand black enrollment at its own dental school.

UF is asking the Florida Board of Governors to support its six-year work plan entitled: “Enhancing the size and diversity of the dentist workforce through expansion of DMD enrollment.” The project would cost $2.8M during its first year and go up to $4.6M by its sixth year.

According to the UF work plan: “Because there is a need for an ethnically and culturally diverse dental workforce, UF proposes to expand its outreach activities to recruit underrepresented and disadvantaged dental students. One mechanism the college will investigate is partnering with Florida A&M University (FAMU) to increase the proportion of under-represented minority students entering dental school.”

Sunday, May 29, 2011

UCF trustees approve dental school

The University of Central Florida (UCF) Board of Trustees has approved the creation of a new College of Dental Medicine.

The board voted unanimously to move ahead with plans to build the college at the university’s Health Sciences Campus at the “medical city” in Lake Nona. UCF is not seeking state funding for the project.

According to a press release, the college is expected to create at least 110 permanent local jobs as well as an initial economic impact of $73 million from construction.

The project still needs the state Board of Governors’ (BOG) approval to move forward. UCF is striving to open the school in 2014 with a charter class of 60 students. There are currently only two fully accredited schools with students in Florida.

UCF’s proposal comes after FAMU President James H. Ammons has spent more than a year educating state leaders about the need for the need for another public dental school. The FAMU Board of Trustees approved the university’s Strategic Plan on October 15, 2009, which included a College of Dental Medicine as a top goal.

FAMU has already submitted its dental school proposal to the Florida Board of Governors (BOG). The BOG has not taken any action on FAMU’s request. A bill authorizing a dental school on FAMU’s campus died during the 2010 legislative session.

FAMU is in finalizing a detailed implementation plan for its dental program that will go before the university Board of Trustees next month. It should reach the Board of Governors by August.

In an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, FAMU consultant Howard Bailit said that UCF’s pitch for a College of Dental Medicine “reinforces that there is a need for a dental school,” which helps FAMU’s case.

Monday, May 16, 2011

UCF working to open dental school by 2014

FAMU continues to be one of the most imitated schools in the State University System of Florida.

University of Central Florida President John C. Hitt will ask his Board of Trustees to approve a proposal for a College of Dental Medicine during a meeting scheduled for May 26, 2011. He wants to open the new school in 2014.

“The College of Dental Medicine will mean opportunities for our local students to obtain a dental education that they must now leave our area to achieve,” Hitt said. “The college will create opportunities to help more people in need of dental care who cannot afford it. And it will provide Central Florida with new jobs and an economic boost in challenging times.”

UCF’s proposal comes after FAMU President James H. Ammons has spent more than a year educating state leaders about the need for the need for another public dental school. The FAMU Board of Trustees approved the university’s Strategic Plan on October 15, 2009, which included a College of Dental Medicine as a top goal. Ammons said that he wants FAMU’s College of Dental Medicine to address Florida’s shortage of dentists in underserved rural and inner-city areas.

Monday, September 13, 2010

FAMU announces 40/40 honorees

Last week, FAMU announced the young men and women who will be honored at the Young Alumni Awards: A 40/40 Celebration, Friday, October 29, in the Alfred L. Lawson, Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium. The gala is part of this year’s Homecoming celebration and celebrates the accomplishments of alumni who are under 40 years of age.

The 40 honorees include actors, business executives, filmmakers, politicians, and educators.

The names include: Joe Briggs, attorney for the NFL Players Association; Dwight Bullard, Florida House of Representatives (District 118); Dr. Makeba S. Earst, Dentist, All About Smiles Center; Andrew D. Gillum, Tallahassee City Commissioner; Amber D. Hall, Florida Region Sales Operations HR Manager, Frito Lay; Rob Hardy and Will Packer, Rainforest Films; Oscar Joyner, President and COO, Reach Media; Melanie Roussell, Press Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Alan Williams, Florida House of Representatives (District 8); Lonnie Rashied Lynn, Jr. – “Common,” actor and rapper; Anika Noni Rose, actress.

One big highlight of the list is Michael Bundy (pictured). Bundy, an alumnus of FAMU's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, graduated first in his class at the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine in 2008. He's currently completing a six-year residency at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, specializing in oral and maxillo facial surgery.

Bundy and Makeba S. Earst are both examples of FAMU's ability to attract students with the potential to become top-rate dental surgeons. FAMU President James Ammons is vigorously lobbying for a College of Dental Medicine to be established at Florida's only public historically black university.

View the full list of honorees here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ammons stands ground on dental school

During the Florida Board of Governors’ Strategic Planning Retreat last month, FAMU President James H. Ammons stood his ground on the need for a College of Dental Medicine at Florida’s only public historically black university.

BOG member Charles B. Edwards, a University of Florida alumnus and former chairman of the Board of Regents, asked a number of not-so-friendly questions about the proposed program.

While admitting that he suspects that a new public dental school “is definitely needed,” Edwards asked if FAMU was using differential tuition dollars to plan the program after university officials had said they would use differential tuition revenue to repair the damage from budget cuts.

“I think I read in the paper or one of the news clips where you were proposing spending $1.5 million to study the need for a dental school,” Edwards stated. “And it hadn’t even been approved yet. And I can tell ya in this economic condition it ain’t gonna be approved for anybody for a number of years.”

“How can you spend $1.5 million on a study when it would have to be coming out of the $1.9 million you’re getting from the differential increase?”

Ammons responded coolly: “Well we asked for $1.5 million (from the legislature). We didn’t get it.”

Edwards did not give up. “I thought I read where you were gonna use other university funds to do that,” he asked.

“Well we’re not going to use $1.5 million to do it from university funds,” Ammons said. “What we were talking about was a study that would go over a number of years. It’s not $1.5 million in one year.”

Edwards did not say anything about the fact that the Florida’s ongoing budget problems didn’t stop the BOG from approving an expensive new doctor of pharmacy program at the University of South Florida designed with the explicit intent of competing against FAMU’s own College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He also failed to speak about the fact that the BOG recently approved a new College of Medicine for Florida Atlantic University.

J. Stanley Marshall, a former president of Florida State University and former chairman of the Bethune-Cookman University Board of Trustees, spoke favorably about the possibility of a FAMU dental school.

“Where better than Florida A&M?,” Marshall asked. “It seems to me to be a logical place to put it.”

“I’ve felt a measure of local pride for some years now in the growth and quality of the graduate programs at Florida A&M,” he added.

BOG chairwoman Ava Parker asked Ammons about the “fiscal soundness of the university to take on this type of professional program.”

Ammons responded that: “There is a tremendous cost to this nation and to this state not to do it.”

“Addressing health disparities is a critical concern to this state and nation,” Ammons explained.

The president ended his statement by noting that a dental school would make the university eligible for more federal research money and help attract more private industry dollars.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

FAMU lacks funds to save Jax dental clinic

FAMU had hoped to rescue a Jacksonville dental clinic that the University of Florida plans to close on June 30 and use the facility to get its own dental school started. However, those hopes were dashed when the legislature failed to authorize a College of Dental Medicine at FAMU and did not appropriate enough money for FAMU to fund the Jacksonville operation.

FAMU will still go forward with the $1.5M planning process for a College of Dental Medicine.

From the Jacksonville-Times Union:

The prospect of a new college of dentistry at Florida A&M University that would operate a Jacksonville dental clinic was delayed when the Legislature failed to pass legislation authorizing the college.

FAMU’s director of governmental relations, Tola Thompson, said Wednesday the proposed dental school failed to get any planning money. However, FAMU will be using other funds to move ahead with planning for the school, which would not accept its first students until 2015, Thompson said.

Backers hoped that the new FAMU college would take over operations of the University of Florida College of Dentistry’s Jacksonville clinic slated to close June 30.

“We have a great interest in operating the Jacksonville dental clinic, but we don’t have the resources,” Thompson said.

Karen Rhodenizer, director of communications for the UF College of Dentistry, said that when the decision was being made to close the clinic, other dental colleges and schools were contacted about taking it over in a collaborative effort. But nothing developed.

Rhodenizer said FAMU Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris and CFO Teresa Hardy went to Gainesville March 30 and met with Teresa Dolan, dean of the UF College of Dentistry, to talk about dental education and the history of the clinic.

“We will continue to be available to FAMU officials as they work on building a dental program,” Rhodenizer said.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

FAMU’s dental school hopes suffer setback

Despite FAMU’s high hopes this legislative session, its pursuit of a dental school came short of the finish line.

The companion bills to authorize a FAMU College of Dental Medicine, filed by Sen. Al Lawson and Rep. Alan Williams, both died in committee.

FAMU did receive good news in its budget that will help it kick the dental school planning process into high gear.

Lawson netted a special $6M line item for FAMU outreach projects. He said the money could go to help FAMU rescue a Jacksonville dental clinic that the University of Florida plans to close on June 30, 2010.

Moving into the Jacksonville building would significantly reduce the start-up costs associated with opening a FAMU dental school. FAMU could begin its program in Jacksonville until it acquires a facility in Tallahassee. After that, the Jacksonville clinic could become a residency site.

Additionally, FAMU received new general revenue and educational enhancement dollars that will help it fund some of the personnel positions that were being paid out of federal stimulus money. That means the university now has great flexibility to pay for the estimated $1.5M in planning costs associated with the dental school.