specialneedscareThe University of Michigan (U-M) School of Dentistry has received two grants to create a new clinic and a professorship aimed at improving access to health and dental care for patients with special needs.

Dental students work with a range of patients, including those with special needs, but treating them has been challenging in a clinical space that is ill-equipped to accommodate personal, physical, and care/treatment requirements, according to the university.

To address this, the school is building a new clinic that will enhance the way patients with special needs receive care and also better prepare dental, dental hygiene, and graduate students to treat these patients after graduation.

The Delta Dental Foundation of Michigan provided $2 million to build a clinic where special needs patients will receive both dental and healthcare services in the same facility from providers across multiple disciplines. It will improve healthcare access for patients with developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, complex medical problems, or significant medical limitations. The clinic will also serve the vulnerable elderly and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

To lead the team of healthcare professionals, the Dr. Walter H. Swartz Faculty Professorship in Integrated Special Care Dentistry is being established in the School of Dentistry with a gift from Timothy Wadhams and his wife, Laurie. The professorship honors Laurie’s father, the late Walter Swartz, DDS, a dental professor of prosthodontics for 29 years.

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