Senator Collins Visits University of New England’s College of Dental Medicine

Senator Collins secured essential funding that allowed the College of Dental Medicine to purchase state-of-the-art equipment

Washington, D.C. — In advance of the University of New England’s first graduating class from the College of Dental Medicine, U.S. Senator Susan Collins was led on a tour of the facility by UNE President Danielle Ripich and the Dean of the College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Jon Ryder. During the tour, Senator Collins met dental students and was shown the simulation clinic and wet lab of the Oral Health Center.

“Expanding access to dental care has long been a priority of mine, so having this first ever dental school in northern New England is truly exciting,” said Senator Collins. “UNE will graduate its first class of 64 students this year, one-third of whom are from Maine. Upon graduation, these bright men and women will serve patients in communities in Maine and across the country.”

“It was a pleasure to have Senator Collins visit the UNE Oral Health Center today,” said Jon Ryder, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of the College of Dental Medicine. “Her longtime support of the inception of the first and only dental school in Northern New England is making a profound change in the access to care issues in our State.”

"It was an honor to meet Senator Collins today," said O. Fields Farrior, D.M.D. M.S., Associate Dean of Clincal Education and Patient Care.  "Her help in establishing the Oral Health Center continues to prove invaluable. I look forward to future collaborations with Senator Collins as the UNE College of Dental Medicine strives toward our mission of shaping the future of dentistry through excellence in education, discovery and service.”

In 2007, Senator Collins secured $611,820 for UNE through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Care and Other Facilities program. The funding provided essential support to UNE to outfit the College of Dental Medicine with state-of-the-art operatories and simulators. Senator Collins, along with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), also co-wrote the Collins-Feingold Dental Health Improvement Act, which became law in 2002 and authorizes funds to help states develop innovative dental workforce development programs tailored to their individual needs.

The University of New England College of Dental Medicine became the first dental college in northern New England in August 2013 when it welcomed an inaugural class of 64 students. Once the College of Dental Medicine is fully populated with students in all four years of the program, it will provide approximately 12,000-15,000 patient visits per year in the Oral Health Center and an additional 20,000-25,000 visits per year in the community-based network. The dental clinic currently serves over 100 patients a day and 2,600 patients in a year.