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iConnect News

A hub for innovation

January 17, 2012
Posted In: Features, Headlines

The Center for Advanced Oral Health Education is advancing ATSU’s vision to be the preeminent university of health sciences. In its first phase, a 22-chair orthodontics clinic has 192 patients ready to receive specialized care, five residents have enrolled in a postgraduate certificate program in orthodontics, and its cutting-edge clinical research is gaining international attention.

Innovative education, advanced care, and research have come together at the recently opened Center for Advanced Oral Health Education on ATSU’s Arizona campus.

The 22,000-square-foot Center is brimming with activity. The 22-chair orthodontics clinic has a waiting list of 192 patients seeking specialized care, and five residents are enrolled in a 26-month postgraduate certificate program in orthodontics. And, community partnerships at The Center are blossoming. Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) Dean Jack Dillenberg, D.D.S., M.P.H., is in talks with the renowned Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center to provide coordinated dental care for cancer survivors.

“I came here because of the reputation of the school and to learn from Dr. Jae Hyun Park,” said international scholar Thian Srisurapol, D.D.S., a graduate of Khon Kaen University in Northeastern Thailand. Jae Hyun Park, D.M.D., Ph.D., M.S.D., M.S., is associate professor and chair of the postgraduate orthodontic program.

“Orthodontics is venerated in dentistry and is very competitive,” Dr. Park said. “We develop critical thinking skills in our residents and instill a creative approach in treating patients.”

Orthodontists straighten teeth, improve aesthetic appearance, provide good function, and collaborate with other dental specialties to improve patients’ oral health.

“We have the freedom to be creative, try different techniques, and learn from our mistakes,” said orthodontic resident Blake Hillstead, D.D.S. According to Hillstead, he is getting more clinical experience here than in comparative programs.

Research by Dr. Park and his residents is gaining international attention. Dr. Park’s work with former resident and ATSU-ASDOH alumna Marisela M. Bedoya, D.M.D., D.H.Sc., ’07, on the diagnosis and management of impacted maxillary canines (Journal of the American Dental Association, 2009), is widely cited. Additionally, his work with Dr. Kiyoshi Tai, D.D.S., a well-known Japanese researcher, has just won the Joseph E. Johnson Clinical Award at the American Association of Orthodontists Table Clinic Competition.

“Eventually, we want to transition this into a fellowship program and increase the course length to 30 months,” said Dr. Park. The program emphasizes community work, and residents provide free care to the underserved once a month at the St. Vincent de Paul Dental Clinic in Phoenix.

The orthodontic clinic is expected to add synergy to another major component of The Center, an Advanced Care Clinic. The first facility of its kind in Arizona, this clinic will offer advanced oral care for individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, hemophilia, end-stage renal disease, and cancer. The clinic will also serve pre- and post-transplant patients and those with congenital and acquired physical disabilities.

Led by Maureen Romer, D.D.S., M.P.A., associate dean of post-doctoral education, the Advanced Care Clinic will serve as a resource for the entire community, providing high quality care regardless of socio-economic status. The clinic will also house ATSU-ASDOH’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry program and include a dedicated area for clinical research.

Since its inception, The Center has piqued interest and received strong community support. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations that have rallied behind our institution,” Dr. Dillenberg said.

The Center is currently seeking support to launch the build out of its Advanced Care Clinic. Learn more at

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