September 1, 2015

School announces new $2.3M gift from Delta Dental of Washington

In another major boost for the School of Dentistry’s transformation, Delta Dental of Washington has announced a gift of $2.3 million in support of Dean Joel Berg’s Dentist of the Future initiative.

This marks the third and biggest gift by Delta Dental for the initiative, for a total of $5.4 million since the end of 2012. Since 1987, Delta Dental of Washington and its Washington Dental Service Foundation have given the School a combined total of nearly $16 million, making them by far the School’s largest and most consistent supporter.

“I am thrilled and grateful to have Delta Dental of Washington’s support for our Dentist of the Future initiative,” Dean Berg said. “Their support has been absolutely essential to our transformation.”

Delta Dental’s Dentist of the Future gifts have underwritten the addition of several key leadership and staff positions needed to undertake the initiative, which includes a new third-year clerkship program of clinical rotations and a new fourth-year general practice model. Delta Dental’s funding has also supported the work of the task forces that Dean Berg appointed and charged with evaluating the School’s administrative operations, organization, curriculum and clinical systems.

“What has made Delta Dental’s support so critical is that it allowed us to implement a unified vision for transforming our School rather than doing it piecemeal over a long time, which was not feasible,” Dean Berg said. “Our initiative has so many interrelated components that this was the only way we could proceed.”

The Dentist of the Future initiative has also included a comprehensive curriculum revision that places even greater emphasis on evidence-based instruction and interprofessional education. It incorporates advances in science and technology and reflects emerging trends in dental practice and the integration of oral health into overall health.  It also includes a restructuring of the School’s administrative operations to promote greater efficiency and utilize modern lean-management business techniques.

“I am delighted that Delta Dental shares our vision for the Dentist of the Future, which will help us remain a national leader in dental education,” Dean Berg said.

“At Delta Dental, we strongly support Dean Berg and his compelling vision for the future of dental education and what dentistry can be,” Jim Dwyer, president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Washington, said at the time of the initial gift in 2012. “We believe his plan will help ensure that the people of Washington will continue to receive the highest standard of patient care, and we fully share that goal.”

Over nearly 30 years, Delta Dental of Washington’s support has underwritten advances in oral health research and interprofessional education, expanded community outreach, provided scholarships for under-represented minorities and met critical needs for UW dental students. Delta Dental of Washington and its Washington Dental Service Foundation have supported every department in the School and established five major endowments to support faculty, students and programs.

In addition, Delta Dental of Washington and the Washington Dental Service  Foundation provided the lead gift of $5 million – at that time the largest philanthropic gift in the School’s history – to launch construction of the UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry, which opened in 2010 at Seattle’s Magnuson Park in partnership with Seattle Children’s hospital.