In March 2008, Dr. Michael Wilson, a 2005 graduate of NYUCD, opened a practice in Broome County, in upstate New York, to help expand access to care for Medicaid patients.
About 30,000 Broome County residents have limited to no access to basic dental care, according to Broome County Department of Health Figures. Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated Broome County a dental health professional shortage area for the low-income population, and opened funding channels to help fill the need.
Dr. Wilson was inspired to move to Broome County from Queens, he said, by his education at NYUCD, where teachers instilled an ethic of not just chasing the money.
In addition to providing dental care for those in need, Dr. Wilson sees his new practice as a way to provide general health care to a neglected population. He recognizes that people lacking health care are also at risk for other health problems, and that many of them do not see physicians. So in addition to the two dentists on his staff, he is considering adding a nurse to screen patients for such essential health barometers as blood pressure and blood sugar, and to make referrals for those who need them.
Dr. Wilson’s thinking reflects the educational philosophy driving NYUCD -- a philosophy of caring for the whole person -- embodied in the 2005 alliance of the NYU College of Dentistry and the NYU nursing program, which created a College of Nursing and a Nursing Faculty Practice within the College of Dentistry. (To view a video on the alliance in action, please go to www.nyu.edu/dental/news/nyucdtv/ and scroll down to Dentistry-Nursing Partnership on NY1 News.)
The NYU dentistry-nursing alliance, said Dean Bertolami, builds on an important trend in health care, which is that more and more nurse practitioners, who provide a wide range of preventive and acute healthcare services, are serving as primary care providers, either independently or in collaboration with a physician.
Since many more Americans visit a dentist each year than visit a physician, it makes sense that, by working collaboratively, dentists and nurse practitioners can make access to primary care much easier for underserved populations. This is what NYUCD is doing in drawing on the skills of faculty NPs who are trained to offer complete primary care for those who do not have a primary care provider. It’s extremely gratifying and a major point of pride to learn that an NYUCD graduate is working to achieve this goal in his own practice. NYUCD congratulates Dr. Wilson and wishes him all the very best in his professional endeavors.