NYU College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) has opened a new dental care practice in Downtown Brooklyn’s City Point. The practice brings high-quality, low-cost dental care for adults and children to the Brooklyn community and its surrounding area and provides a unique training opportunity for advanced dental students at NYU.
“NYU Dentistry Brooklyn Patient Care marks the first time in the 155-year history of NYU College of Dentistry that we have opened a patient care and education facility outside of Manhattan,” said Charles N. Bertolami, the Herman Robert Fox Dean of NYU Dentistry. “However, we see it as an extension of our long-standing commitment to caring for Brooklyn residents, especially those who otherwise would not be able to access dental care.”
Bringing Care to Brooklyn
NYU Dentistry Brooklyn Patient Care provides comprehensive patient care, including general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and implant dentistry. The practice—which will see 25,000 to 30,000 patients each year—is staffed by NYU Dentistry faculty and, going forward, will include advanced dental students.
Like NYU Dentistry’s main facility at 345 E. 24th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, which cares for roughly 75,000 New Yorkers per year, NYU Dentistry Brooklyn Patient Care offers services at reduced cost and accepts Medicaid.
The practice is located in a 15,000-square-foot leased space in City Point, a mixed-use commercial and residential complex in Downtown Brooklyn. City Point is in close proximity to 12 subway lines and five bus stops, making it easily accessible to residents throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island.
“When I visited the NYU College of Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities last year, I was struck by their commitment to serving patients who often lack access to these vital services,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The new facility at City Point will extend and deepen that mission, providing much-needed dental services to Brooklynites. The events of this year have underscored the profound need for equitable access to all forms of health care, and the urgent task of closing the vast disparities that currently exist in that access. NYU College of Dentistry is pointing the way forward for all healthcare institutions, and I thank them for their pioneering example.”
“I am thrilled that NYU is opening a new dental clinic right here in Brooklyn,” said New York State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “Dental health is a social and economic justice issue, because too few people get the dental care that they need. This new practice will help address dental care access inequities by coupling students and faculty together to provide the public with high-quality, low-cost care. NYU’s new model teaching program will also create a group of well-trained dental professionals and ensure a better experience for patients.”
NYU Dentistry’s new practice is one of several illustrations of NYU’s growing commitment to the Brooklyn community. Prior to establishing NYU Dentistry Brooklyn Patient Care, NYU dental faculty and students were already screening and providing health promotion services to more than 1,000 children, adults, and seniors annually at 30 community-based sites in Brooklyn, and treating approximately 700 children and seniors aboard the Smiling Faces, Going Places dental van at 14 Brooklyn sites.
In addition, over the past decade, NYU merged with Brooklyn’s Polytechnic University to create NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, partnered with Lutheran Medical Center to establish and expand NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, and transformed the former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay Street into an academic hub for technology, emerging media, and the arts that is also home to the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).
A New Model of Dental Education
NYU Dentistry Brooklyn Patient Care will introduce an innovative “mentor-protégé” model of dental education that benefits patients, students, and faculty alike. In this model, a faculty member mentors a small group of advanced dental students, and faculty and students work side-by-side to treat patients, with faculty serving as hands-on, active teachers.
In June 2019, NYU Dentistry launched a four-month pilot program to test this model and found that it led to optimal learning, teaching, and patient care experiences. Students benefited from working so closely alongside faculty and getting real-time feedback, noting that this model provided an enhanced environment in which to build confidence and competence in their clinical skills.
An unexpected but welcome benefit of the mentor-protégé model pilot was increased efficiency, more similar to a private practice than a dental school clinic. Faculty and students were able to see at least three times as many patients as are typically seen in the dental school clinic, which translated to more efficient appointments and saving patients’ time.
Based on the successful pilot, NYU Dentistry Brooklyn Patient Care aims to introduce the mentor-protégé model by adding student rotations once the practice has acquired a patient roster sufficient to provide the rich educational experiences that align with the goals of the pilot program and the accrediting body. Students and faculty will work together in small groups of no more than three students to one faculty member to provide patient care. Importantly, the faculty member is designated as the patient’s dentist, creating continuity of care for patients as they return to the practice for future appointments.
“Through this model, we will empower students and faculty to work together as a true team, while helping students learn how to run a dental practice in a fast-paced, real-world environment,” said Bertolami.