A Case Today For Dental Education Quick Facts

What is A Case Today For Dental Education

This is a $2 million fundraising effort to raise monies for dental education in Illinois through the ISDS Foundation.

Why does Illinois need this program?

  • Dental education is responsible for upholding the integrity of dentistry as a trusted health care profession. Yet, it faces enormous challenges in fulfilling that responsibility.

  • The physical facilities in which dental education is delivered must be improved. Operating costs for dental schools are among the highest on university campuses, and investment by universities in their dental schools has failed to keep pace with the need. Persistent faculty shortages threaten the future of dental education and curriculum development.

  • Additionally, dental education is becoming unaffordable. Tuition costs and post-graduate debt may prevent talented students from lower-income families and under-represented minorities from pursuing dental careers. The cost issue is also a barrier for graduates to choose dental education over a more lucrative private-practice career.

  • Without a solid educational infrastructure in place in Illinois, the long-held standards of excellence in dental education and, subsequently, dental care are at risk.

How will the funds raised be used?

Monies raised through the campaign are placed in a designated fund – an endowment – which is managed by the ISDS Foundation Board of Directors. The earnings will be used to support dental education at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine – Illinois, and Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. All monies raised in Illinois remain in Illinois.

Message from ISDS Foundation President,
Dr. Keith W. Dickey

Dental education is the foundation of our profession. Our knowledge, science and ethical principles were instilled in us while we were students. Dental school provides the skills sets needed to be successful, including hard work, dedication, intelligence and fortitude. However, in recent years our dental education system has become at risk, and has severely suffered from numerous challenges that have never been fully addressed. We have reached the tipping point: dental education will not be able to provide for the next generation of dentists. As a profession we will not be able to serve in the public’s best interest. Consequently, the future of our profession is at risk.

Dental education has always been one of the most expensive curricula offered in institutions of higher learning. If we do not address the high cost of dental education and the lack of faculty due to retirement, then we risk a declining dental profession. Facilities are outdated and equipment needs replacement. Buildings need repairs. 50% of dental school faculty are age 51 or older. In addition to the multiple faculty retirement , dental schools currently have more than 400 vacant faculty positions.

One of our responsibilities as dentists is treatment of and service to the public’s oral health needs. This depends on the availability and accessibility of well-trained dentists to serve those living in remote, rural or disadvantaged urban areas. A steady supply of well-educated dentists will certainly solve one of the issues. Helping these graduating dentists with a solution to their $200,000 educational debt will also help answer some of their practice location questions.

We owe it to ourselves and our profession to tackle these critical issues. Dental education cannot be sustained on government funding alone.

What can I do?

ISDS member dentists are asked to pledge the amount of one dental treatment case (minimum $1,000) each year to the campaign through 2014. Donations can be made directly from the dentist to the ISDS Foundation or patients can donate the fee that they would pay for treatment directly to the ISDS Foundation, rather than paying the dentist.

What are the tax benefits?

The ISDS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and donations are tax deductible. As a donating dentist, you can receive the deduction. If your patient donates, she/he can receive the deduction.
(Please contact your personal tax advisor.)

Why should I give?

You have the unique opportunity to take action. Illinois' dental education system must be strengthened and made more dynamic. And it must happen now. It will require energetic leadership, support and a willingness to embrace needed change by the dental profession, the dental education community, and beyond.

Who do I contact?
Contact the ISDS Foundation at 800/475-4737 or click here to email.