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CHICAGO—The Chicago Dental Society announced it will donate $1.6 million in grants to the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Dentistry and Southern Illinois University's School of Dental Medicine. The dental schools are the last two remaining in the State of Illinois.
The University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Dentistry will receive $1 million to endow two clinical professorships. Southern Illinois University's School of Dental Medicine will receive $500,000 to endow a clinical professorship and $100,000 to establish the Chicago Dental Society Faculty Recruitment and Retention Fund.
“Dental education is in a state of crisis,” Dr. Ronald Testa, CDS President said. “We hope our contribution will encourage others to support our dental schools.”
Over the last 12 years, Illinois has lost several dental schools, including programs at Northwestern University, Loyola University and the University of Chicago. It is a trend seen nationwide: Since 1980 the number of dental schools in the country has dropped by 10 percent.
With fewer dental schools in operation—there are currently 56 in the country—fewer dental students are graduating, contributing to a rising but mostly unrecognized national crisis. According to the federal government more than 31 million Americans live in “dental shortage areas” where there is less than one full-time dentist for a population of 4,000 to 5,000.
“We want to be part of the solution to this problem,” Dr. Testa said. “And it is our hope that these endowments will not only provide a financial uplift but also a psychological one to the schools, which have been hard hit by budget shortfalls and cutbacks.”
The endowments will be presented during ceremonies held in December at each school.
The Chicago Dental Society represents the interests of 4,100 dentists in Cook, Lake and DuPage Counties and advocates for improving oral health care for all. The society is the local branch of the American Dental Association.
A tradition of working for the dental profession. The Chicago Dental Society was organized in 1864 and incorporated in 1878. The objective of the Chicago Dental Society is to encourage the improvement of the health of the public, to promote the art and science of dentistry and to represent the intrest of the members of the profession and the public that it serves.
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