© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

NEOMED Explores Possibility of Opening a Dental School

Jeff St. Clair
NEOMED is considering opening a dental school, which would be the third dental school in the region.

Ohio may soon have a new dental school, and studies show there’s a need. Approximately 60% of counties are underserved when it comes to oral healthcare. NEOMED is in the early stages of exploring a dental school.

A dental school at NEOMED has been in talks for years, but with disparities in health care only growing, Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland) says it’s time to take action.

“I was able to get for them in the budget was for the next two years a million dollars a year in order to support this exploratory activity, which I’m relatively certain will lead to them opening up their dental school,” Cirino said.

NEOMED President Dr. John Langell says one of the university's priorities is to make the school affordable. He says students who graduate with less debt will be more successful working in lower class communities where they may not get paid as well.

“If we have lower debt for these students then they’re going to be more successful in serving everyone,” Langell said.

He says the majority of NEOMED students continue to work in the state after graduation.

Langell says there's a need for a new dental school.

“We’re able to validate a significant need for providing new dentists with a focus on culturally competent care, social determinants of health, and a desire to serve the underserved communities,” he said.

Langell says the accreditation process will take at least three years, after which NEOMED will be able to welcome its first class of dental students. He says the steering committee will continue to meet in the coming months to develop curriculum, make partnerships with local institutions, and start the search for an inaugural dean for the school.