Students at the University of Central Florida could soon study how to become dentists.
The UCF Board of Trustees is expected to approve a proposal on May 26 which would establish a College of Dental Medicine. It would be located at the UCF Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona, according to a UCF news release. UCF says it would create at least 110 local jobs as well as an initial economic impact of $73 million.
“The College of Dental Medicine will mean opportunities for our local students to obtain a dental education that they must now leave our area to achieve,” UCF President John C. Hitt said in the statement. “The college will create opportunities to help more people in need of dental care who cannot afford it. And it will provide Central Florida with new jobs and an economic boost in challenging times.”
UCF says it has no intentions of using public money to pay for the project. A secret private donor is ponying up a $10 million donation to get it going. UCF says it will then secure a loan of approximately $40 million to cover necessary startup costs of the facility, which will be built next to the College of Medicine in Lake Nona’s “Medical City.”
According to UCF, there are only two accredited dental schools with enrolled students in Florida – one in Gainesville and one in Fort Lauderdale.
UCF estimates the initial economic impact to be $73 million, coming from construction and equipment costs. Once it’s up and running, the dental school is projected to generate approximately $69 million in annual economic impact, and that doesn’t include the research dollars the dental school could bring.
The med school’s dean was excited.
“This is a unique opportunity for us,” said Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs at UCF and dean of the College of Medicine. “There is a link between oral health and overall health. In fact, recent studies indicate that oral disease is often present in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We expect to be conducting research in these areas, which will benefit our students and the community’s overall health.”