Dugoni School Expands Community Care through New CDA Foundation-Funded Student Rotations


New funding supports dental care at CommuniCare+OLE in Napa and Livingston Community Health in Livingston, CA.

University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry recently received the first community-based clinical education grant from the California Dental Association (CDA) Foundation, in partnership with the state Office of Oral Health, which will allow the school to expand oral health care at community health centers serving the town of Livingston in Merced County and the county of Napa.

This opportunity arose as a result of CDA’s proposal for $10 million to create new community-based clinical education rotations for dental students, which was approved in California’s 2022-2023 state budget signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The funding will be used to establish new clinical rotations for senior students in the school’s Doctor of Dental Surgery and International Dental Studies programs. Students will participate in two-week rotations at two Napa clinic locations of CommuniCare+OLE (formerly OLE Health) and the Livingston Community Health Campus. The locations serve patients who come from areas in the state considered as dental health professional shortage areas by the Health Resources & Services Administration.

Working with onsite dentists at each of the centers, dental students will deliver a wide range of preventative and general dental procedures to a diverse patient population. Services will include exams, cleanings, fillings, emergency care and more.

“While patients will benefit from the care, our dental students will also benefit from the experiences they will receive working with patients from a wide range of demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Dr. Nader A. Nadershahi, dean and vice provost of the Dugoni School.

the new building in Stockton

Rotation sites will include two CommuniCare+OLE clinical facilities in Napa that provide primary care services including medical, dental and behavioral health.

“Dental students are the future of our profession’s workforce,” said Dr. Richard Graham, chair of the CDA Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Increasing their learning experiences with historically underserved communities will help them better address existing health inequities throughout the state.”

The CDA Foundation approved two years of funding at approximately $550,000 to support these rotations. The school can apply for up to $1 million in the coming years to support new community outreach rotations.

The CDA Foundation will also work with other dental schools across California to expand student rotations at federally qualified health centers in order to improve access to quality care and foster a health care workforce that can confidently address current and emerging needs across the state. This program will enhance the already significant role dental schools in California play as a part of the safety net.

“It has been a great experience to work with dental students during their clinical rotations. This partnership has created a learning opportunity for students as well as professional development opportunities for the staff,” said Dr. Pawanjeet Singh Pannu, dental director of Livingston Community Health. “Having students at our clinic site has increased access to care for our patients. Partnering for these clinical trainings can lead to more recruitment opportunities for health centers and eventually be helpful in increasing access to care for the underserved populations.”

In addition to these new rotations, the Dugoni School currently offers extramural clinic rotations at California Pacific Medical Center, La Clinica de la Raza, On Lok PACE, San Mateo Medical Center and Stanford Oral Medicine and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic.

Through its extramural clinic rotations and at the Dugoni School’s campus in downtown San Francisco, the school provides oral health care for nearly 20,000 patients each year across Northern California.