UW School of Dentistry

Delta Dental gift helps ease dental students’ burden

Despite the grueling intensity of licensing board exams at the end of March, fourth-year UW dental students could still smile about one thing: Someone else was footing a large chunk of their costs.

Thanks to the extension of an earlier gift by Delta Dental of Washington, all students taking the Washington Regional Examining Board test had their application fees fully underwritten, to the tune of more than $2,200 per student.

Delta Dental began underwriting the cost of the exams with a two-year gift covering 2013 and 2014 and then extended its support with a gift of more than $145,000 this year.

“It’s absolutely huge,” said Carol Brown, Director of Student Services, “and it comes at just the right time for students.”

Fourth-year class president David Ludwig also said Delta’s support made a big impact.

“Delta Dental of Washington’s generosity not only eased the financial burden of the exam, but also let us focus on screening patients for this clinical and professional milestone,” Ludwig said. “On behalf of the Class of 2015, I want to express our enthusiastic appreciation to Delta Dental of Washington for this very welcome gesture of support.”

Over nearly 30 years, Delta Dental and its nonprofit arm, the Washington Dental Service Foundation, have been the School of Dentistry’s biggest supporters. Delta Dental’s gifts, which have provided support for faculty, students and programs, have earned it University of Washington Presidential Laureate designation, given to donors of at least $10 million.

“Delta’s support has also been absolutely instrumental in helping us begin to transform the School of Dentistry to produce a true dentist of the future,” said Dean Joel Berg.

He noted the company’s recent gifts totaling more than $3 million in 2012 and 2013, which enabled the addition of several critical faculty and staff positions. The funding also underwrote the work of several task forces appointed by Dean Berg to study all aspects of the school’s curriculum, clinical systems and administrative operations.

The task forces’ work and recommendations have led the school to the threshold of major changes, including a new “clerkship” system of student clinical rotations that begins this summer. A fully revamped curriculum will also be launched starting in fall quarter this year, and the school also plans to phase in a more intensive fourth-year clinical practice model during the 2015-16 academic year.