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Woodruff Foundation pledges $3 million toward MCG dental building

AUGUSTA, Ga. The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has pledged $3 million toward construction of a new Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry building.

"This is great news for the school," said MCG President Daniel W. Rahn. "This helps demonstrate to other foundations and corporations, and to individuals, that we merit their support. The gift is contingent upon groundbreaking for the new building during the year 2009, and we are confident that will occur."

"By sharing its resources, the Woodruff Foundation is also sharing our vision," said School of Dentistry Dean Connie Drisko. "This gift, from the state's largest foundation, confirms that civic leaders in Georgia have established their support not just for the new building, but for shaping the future of dental education and oral health in Georgia."

This is the school's largest gift to date, Dr. Drisko said.

Construction is slated to begin this summer and last two years. The building, which will be located on the site of the former Gilbert Manor housing project, will accommodate the vast growth and technological advancements that have characterized the school since its existing building opened in 1970 on Laney Walker Boulevard, Dr. Drisko said.

The school is increasing its class size incrementally from 63 to 100 and its residency positions from 44 to 72. Only 13 of the country's 57 dental schools now have a class size of 100 or more, according to the American Dental Association.

The MCG School of Dentistry is the only dental school in Georgia, and approximately 80-85 percent of its graduates practice in Georgia, said Dr. Drisko.

As the first class of 80 enters the new building in fall 2011, the school will be well-positioned to reach its goal of producing a third of Georgia's newly licensed dentists, Dr. Drisko said. Georgia now issues about 200 dental licenses annually. The growth should help alleviate the shortage of dentists in Georgia, which has 41.4 dentists per 100,000 citizensconsiderably fewer than the nationwide ratio of 54.3 per 100,000, according to the American Dental Association.

The approximately $112 million new facility will have five floors, 220,000 square feet and new equipment including dental chairs, simulation technology, distance-learning and teledentistry capabilities.

The facility will house the school's eight specialty clinics, two large student clinics, simulation labs, an expanded faculty practice, the School of Allied Health Sciences' dental hygiene program and an administration suite. Patient visits are projected to increase from 50,000 a year to nearly 100,000.


Contact: Paula Hinely
Medical College of Georgia

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Woodruff Foundation pledges $3 million toward MCG dental building
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