Swedish Starts Dental Residency; Program Trains New Dentists to Treat Complex Patients in Hospitals,

Swedish Starts Dental Residency; Program Trains New Dentists to Treat Complex Patients in Hospitals, Offices

SEATTLE, July 20, 2009 – Swedish, in partnership with Seattle Special Care Dentistry (SSCD), this month begins a new General Practice Residency in Hospital Dentistry. The program was developed to provide recent dental school graduates with advanced training in caring for medically complex patients. This will allow increased access for the underserved while meeting the dental treatment needs of the medical center.

Three new graduate dentists – Drs. Sara Cassidy and Rebecca Esterly from University of Washington, and Dr. Angela Bukstein from University of Minnesota – are the inaugural residents.

"Dental care is a vital component of modern health care and Swedish has wanted to add a residency program for some time," said John Vassall, M.D., chief medical officer. "This is the logical adjunct to our Mother Joseph Clinic at Swedish Cherry Hill, which helps provide various specialty-care services to people who are uninsured or under-insured."

The residency program director is Bart Johnson, D.D.S., M.S., and assistant director is Amy Winston, D.D.S. – partners in SSCD, which is located near University Village in Seattle. Dr. Johnson has been involved in residency teaching for 23 years, including as director of the University of Washington residency program from 1991 to 2007. Dr. Winston completed a two-year residency in 2004 with Dr. Johnson and subsequently joined the faculty as an attending dentist. Both dentists have a passion for teaching and are committed to the mission of residency training. Joining them at SSCD will be Dr. Terry Chun for general dental supervision, Drs. Bryan Williams and Donna Quinby for pediatric dental support, Dr. Andrea Pearson for anesthesiology, and Dr. Courtenay Allen for endodontic (root canal) services. Many other community dentists will also give of their time and expertise by helping teach or on a limited clinical basis.

The new program has been certified by American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation. There are approximately 350 similar programs in the nation, most of which are associated with major medical centers. In early May of this year, Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire signed a bill enabling legislation that allowed the first Swedish residents to practice with limited licenses, and the Washington State Dental Quality Assurance Commission gave their unanimous approval.

According to Dr. Johnson, about half of the national dental graduates go through a general dental residency or other post-doctoral specialty training. "The most important thing residents gain is confidence in their dental skills and managing a challenging population," he said. "They benefit from an intensive experience, with skilled dentists and physicians guiding them at every step."

This new residency program will be an important resource for the regional medical and dental communities. The residents will see very medically complex patients, many of whom are uninsured or under-insured. "Our focus is on caring for patients who present the greatest challenges to the dental profession," said Dr. Winston. "Residents will perform ample dental care while learning to provide unusual services such as IV sedation and blood product transfusions."

Like medical residents, the dental residents are assigned to a series of clinical rotations, primarily at Swedish's First Hill Campus. They will care for patients with a wide range of complex diagnoses including cancer, cardiac issues, neurologic disorders, hemophilia, Alzheimer's, autism, Down syndrome, orofacial trauma and many others. They will also provide dental support to inpatient units, Surgical Services, and Swedish's Organ Transplant Program.

In a six-week anesthesia rotation, working with Dr. Kelvyn Abramowitz and other anesthesiologists at Swedish Ballard, residents will learn airway management, venipuncture, general physiology and emergency preparedness. In the Emergency Department at Swedish First Hill, they will be on call and available to stabilize patients in situations that range from facial trauma to significant oral infection. They will also spend one day a week at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic (OBCC; www.odessabrown.org), managing a large number of underserved children in Seattle's Central Area. OBCC is directed by Dr. Chris Delecki, immediate past president of the Seattle-King County Dental Society.

On average, the residents will see five to eight patients each day. On call, they are projected to see up to 1,000 patients per year after hours. They will also attend six hours of lectures each week, which will be presented by clinical experts. Topics include many aspects of medicine, advanced dentistry, emergency care and business/legal issues.

"Perhaps the most important thing we want to teach is how to work with patients that most community dentists are unwilling or unable to treat," emphasized Dr. Johnson. "Our faculty's goal is to show the residents that with some extra work, coordination of care with the medical teams and some patience, almost anyone can get their necessary dental care completed. Our practice's goal is to never have to refuse care to someone based on their medical condition or financial situation. We hope to pass these ideals on to the residents."

For more information on the Swedish General Practice Residency in Hospital Dentistry, contact Drs. Johnson or Winston at 206-524-1600 or Sandra Norris, Swedish's administrative director of Medical Education, at 206-386-2779.

About SSCD

Seattle Special Care Dentistry (www.seattlespecialcaredentistry.com) is a private practice dedicated to providing dental care for patients with complex medical, mental and physical challenges. Designed as a training facility for residents, all support personnel have had additional training in working with patients with special needs. SSCD treats patients needing care for many conditions, including:

  • Pre-transplant clearances and post-transplant support
  • Oncologic support (chemotherapy and radiation)
  • Hemophilia and other bleeding disorders
  • Cardiac conditions of all varieties
  • Pulmonary disorders including ventilator-dependent patients
  • Kidney disorders, particularly dialysis patients
  • Liver disorders (alcoholic, autoimmune and viral)
  • Diabetes, all severities
  • Immunocompromised patients
  • High-risk pregnancy
  • Neurologic disorders (Parkinson's, MS, Huntington's)
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism, Down syndrome, etc.)
  • Psychiatric illness, (Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, etc.)
  • Dental phobia and patients with chronic pain management

About Swedish and its Residency Programs

Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – a freestanding emergency department and specialty center in Issaquah, Home Care Services, and the Swedish Physician Division – a network of about 40 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout King County. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. In addition to the new General Practice Residency in Hospital Dentistry, Swedish has residency programs in Family Medicine at First Hill and Cherry Hill, General Surgery and Podiatry. For more information, visit www.swedish.org


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