Marshfield Clinic announced Wednesday it will reallocate to the state a $10 million grant it received in 2010 to build a rural dental education facility in Marshfield.
Marshfield Clinic in 2010 announced its intent to build the facility after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a report detailing the need to increase the number of dentists serving rural areas of the state. The report recommended developing programs to prepare college graduates for dental school, developing dental residency programs, and building a dental school in a high-needs area of Wisconsin.
The Clinic approached the state legislature with plans to build a dental education facility, and the state pledged $10 million toward the project. The award was met with opposition from the Wisconsin Dental Association and Marquette University, which operates Wisconsin's only dental school.
Security Health Plan in 2010 pledged an additional $10 million, but more money was needed to develop curriculum and build a facility where third-year dental students could train.
Meanwhile, the Clinic developed training programs through the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation for college graduates and a dental residency program which began training two individuals July 1. Dr. Brian Ewert, executive director for Marshfield Clinic, said the residency program will likely expand in the coming years, and the Clinic plans to provide clinical opportunities for fourth-year-dental students.
These efforts, along with the development of nine dental centers in partnership with Family Health Center of Marshfield, have gone a long way for improving access to dental care and filling rural workforce gaps in dentistry, Ewert said. The Clinic will continue to focus on its efforts to train dental professionals and improve access to care.