UTHSC Dedicate Simulation Center

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The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry dedicated its dental simulation center in recognition of a one million dollar gift from Delta Dental Plan of Tennessee.

The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry dedicated its dental simulation center today in recognition of a one million dollar gift from Delta Dental Plan of Tennessee.

Made possible by state funding in 2001, the center is the only one of its kind in the world and includes a renovated laboratory with 40 interactive, virtual-reality simulators in one room and eighty conventional simulators in the other. The Delta Dental Plan gift will go toward maintenance and upgrading of the laboratories, which will be named the Delta Dental Plan of Tennessee Dental Simulation Center.

UT College of Dentistry dean, Russell O. Gilpatrick, DDS commented, “We are very grateful to Delta Dental Plan of Tennessee for their generous support. In 1998, they established one of our largest scholarship endowments. This additional gift, which is the largest cash gift ever received by the College of Dentistry, will help us properly maintain and upgrade the simulation laboratories in years to come. This gift will also go a long way toward ensuring a technologically advanced education for the next generation of dental students.”

By using these revolutionary computerized dental training systems, students will receive case history information on simulated patients, and the units will track the procedures using on-screen visual systems. The units provide real-time feedback and evaluation, with all of the advantages of hands-on clinical experiences.

Dr. Gilpatrick commented, “One of the benefits these units provide is that they encourage self-training and enable users to advance at their own pace. Also, they have proven to be quite effective in helping to improve dental skills.”

“A mission of Delta Dental Plan of Tennessee is to support programs of demonstrated value that improve oral health care for all persons,” commented Phil Wenk, DDS, chief executive of Delta Dental Plan of Tennessee. “We are pleased to make this gift to the UT College of Dentistry. The work done by the school in research and teaching is critically important to the future of health care, both in Tennessee and nationally.” Dr. Wenk is a 1977 UT College of Dentistry graduate.

Delta Dental Plan of Tennessee (DDPT) is a member of the Chicago-based Delta Dental Plans Association, the oldest and largest dental benefits provider in the United States. DDPT’s professional membership constitutes 85% of all dentists presently licensed and practicing in Tennessee. Additionally, Delta Dental member plans serve nearly one-quarter of the estimated 170 million Americans with dental insurance, providing coverage to over 42 million people in nearly 75,000 groups across the nation.