NSU’s College of Dental Medicine Receives $3.4 Million Grant to Enhance Dental Care and Access for People with Autism
HHS Grant Will Fund Curriculum Development and Resident Training
FT. LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – Dentists and other health care providers who treat patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) require special training to understand the skills and techniques needed to care for this growing population.
Romer Ocanto, D.D.S., M.S., CAGS, chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Dental Medicine, has secured a $3,398,452 grant from the Health Resource and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide this training to pediatric dentistry and advanced education in general dentistry residents over a five-year period. This is the third grant Dr. Ocanto has received from HRSA. Previous funding totaled approximately $3.5 million.
The program will include the development of a curriculum addressing the transition of children and adolescents with ASD to adult dental care and aims to increase access to dental care for children and adolescents with special health care needs such as ASD.
“Nova Southeastern University is committed to researching and implementing new techniques to help patients with special needs,” said Dr. Ocanto. “We are excited about this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people. This funding will allow us to partner with community organizations and general dentists in Florida and throughout the Southeastern U.S. to enhance dental services available to patients with autism.”
“In its short history, NSU’s College of Dental Medicine has developed a strong tradition of caring for children and adults with special needs,” added Linda Niessen, D.M.D., M.P.H., M.P.P., dean of the college.
Currently NSU’s College of Dental Medicine has pediatric special needs dental clinics at NSU’s Mailman Segal Center for Human Development in Davie, Florida; NSU Dental Care at KID in Fort Lauderdale; and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida; along with an adult special needs dental clinic in North Miami Beach, Florida. NSU has existing relationships with Broward Health Medical Center, the South Florida Autism Charter School and the Autism Consortium/Broward County Public Schools to provide additional dental services to the special needs community.
Approximately one in 68 children has been diagnosed with ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Average medical expenses for children and adolescents with ASD are $4,100-$6,200 higher per year than children without ASD.
This project is 100% financed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D88HP20126 and Postdoctoral Training in General, Pediatric and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene for $3,398,452. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
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About Nova Southeastern University’s College of Dental Medicine: Predoctoral and postdoctoral dental students of the college benefit from state-of-the-art educational programs and clinical facilities, dedicated staff, and an outstanding faculty recognized annually with numerous awards and honors. Research programs focus on clinical trials, biomaterials, tissue engineering, and innovative methods for delivering preventive dental services. The College of Dental Medicine’s academic programs demonstrate a special commitment to caring for medically complex patients, underserved populations, and special needs children and adults. Students and professionals come from diverse backgrounds to pursue their courses of study at the college. For more information, please visit http://dental.nova.edu/.
About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. A private, not-for-profit institution with more than 24,000 students, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is 1 of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit www.nova.edu for more information.
Jeremy Katzman, M.B.A., APR | Office of Public Affairs