Dental foundation lends support to Pacific’s integrated health care collaborative

Four students are walking wearing scrubs and white coats

University of the Pacific’s unique Sacramento-based interprofessional health care initiative has received new support with a $250,000 Access to Care grant awarded to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry by the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation

The funds will support the launch of an innovative teaching and patient care facility that will be one of the first of its kind at a university.

“We are grateful to the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation for this funding that will help provide access to comprehensive health care to underserved people and offer our students hands-on clinical experiences with a diverse population of patients, ultimately reducing the cost of care,” said Nader A. Nadershahi, dean of the Dugoni School of Dentistry and vice provost for the San Francisco Campus.
The project will include the creation of a new clinical and academic facility in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, designed to provide comprehensive primary health care services to the public, while providing an integrated clinical learning environment for students. 

Designed around values-based personalized care, the clinical model will offer students who are training to be dentists, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, social workers and other health care providers the opportunity to learn and work together.

“We want to prepare our students for 21st century healthcare, which is a very collaborative approach,” said Nicoleta Bugnariu, founding dean of the School of Health Sciences. “Pacific is a leader in interprofessional education, and this new initiative will greatly expand opportunities for our students to learn from each other so they can provide patients the best care possible.”

Dugoni is collaborating with the School of Health Sciences and Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy to develop the project. The initiative will include expansion of the Dugoni School’s successful International Dental Studies program as well as programs in the School of Health Sciences. 

In addition to the integrated dental-medical care approach, the facility will serve as a local safety net clinic for vulnerable and underserved populations, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

It will offer patients preventive, acute and ongoing dental and medical care, conveniently located in one setting. Approximately 20,000 medical patients and 10,000 dental patients from across the region will be able to be served annually.

“This partnership enables us to achieve our broader mutual goals of increasing equity and access to dental health care, especially for the underserved, and helping to make the communities we serve stronger, healthier and more resilient,” said Kenzie Ferguson, vice president of foundation and corporate social responsibility for Delta Dental of California.

Pacific announced plans for the innovative facility in June after receiving a $4 million lead gift from Stephen and Pamela Thorne. Stephen Thorne is founder and CEO of Pacific Dental Services and his father is a Dugoni alumnus.

Architectural plans for the facility are currently being developed. The collaborative expects to open to the public in 2024.