Dear Editor: As Wisconsin’s only dental school for more than 100 years, Marquette University School of Dentistry (MUSOD) has a responsibility and a longstanding commitment to educate the state’s future dentists and promote oral health statewide.
We do that not only by providing a nationally recognized educational program for our more than 300 students each year but also by providing dental services to Wisconsin citizens in six clinics statewide, serving tens of thousands of patients in 64 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
MUSOD recently expressed concern over the release of $10 million in state funding for dental outreach at the Marshfield Clinic. While we had worked cooperatively with Marshfield regarding their plans for both post-baccalaureate and residency programs, which would be complementary to the MUSOD educational program, the expanded proposal they offered to the State Building Commission called for establishment of a second dental school. The commission’s own study had deemed that unfeasible, and we believe the revised proposal warranted more public scrutiny.
The continued relationship between the MUSOD and the State of Wisconsin is the best and most cost efficient way to address oral health care needs in both urban and rural communities and the future of dental education in Wisconsin. MUSOD is seeking to expand its facility to accommodate an additional 20 students per year. We are an accredited educational institution with more than 100 years of experience in dental education, and our students learn from experienced full-time dental faculty as well as practicing dentists in clinics around the state.
State funding is tight. In the last state budget, MUSOD experienced a decrease in the capitation (tuition relief) rate for its students, and funds to provide clinical services to the underserved throughout Wisconsin also decreased. Funding should be directed to entities with a proven record of meeting the needs of the state and its citizens.
MUSOD remains committed to working with the state to provide quality dental education and to address oral health care needs statewide.
William Lobb, D.D.S., M.S., M.P.H.
Dean, Marquette University School of Dentistry