History of the Practice
Dentistry at Wake Forest Baptist Health(WFBH) started as a unit of the Department of Surgery in 1945. Two dental interns completed training as early as 1949, and the dental activities at WFBH were staffed by community dentists and by a full-time general dentist, Dr. David Beavers. Dr. Beavers practiced at WFBH from 1945 through 1977.
Dentistry was established as a free-standing, independent department within Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1977, and its mission was to contribute to each of the School of Medicine’s major programmatic areas – patient care, teaching, research and community service.
The Department was to achieve the best possible balance among these activities striving to develop programs of excellence within practical and fiscally allowable limits. Since its inception the Department has been very active in the clinical arena, averaging approximately 22,000 outpatient visits and a significant inpatient and operating room activity each year.
The primary educational focus of the Department has been a 2-year general practice residency program, which has been accredited since 1983 by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. Other educational activities of the Department include medical student teaching, nondental house staff teaching and a vigorous continuing education program directed at practicing dentists and dental auxiliaries.
Research has been a successful and ongoing activity of the Department of Dentistry. Since 1994 the Department has ranked from 5th to 2nd in the NIH comparison of funding for dental departments in medical schools. The major research activities of the Department have been in imaging and molecular biology and genomics particularly regarding periodontal disease.
Throughout the years the Department has also taken the lead in providing community dental service in Forsyth County and has worked with a variety of individuals and organizations to promote and improve access for underserved populations in the county.
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Development of University Dental Associates
In 1995 the faculty of the Department of Dentistry discussed several strategies to ensure the continued success and survival of the Department. This discussion was fostered primarily by the increasing understanding that WFBH would not provide the capital necessary to renovate and/or rebuild the Department’s clinical space, which was originally constructed in 1980 with a grant of $475,000 from R.J. Reynolds Industries.
The faculty was committed to the continued success of Dentistry at WFBH and developed a plan to carve out the clinical practice and make it a for-profit entity. Additionally, it was decided that the Department would seek a business partner that could provide the necessary capital for clinical facility renewal. At this time (1995-1997) there were a number of dental management service organizations getting started, and in September 1997 a professional association named Raymond Garrison, DDS, PA and University Dental Associates was organized.
The PA entered into a long-term service agreement with DentalCo, a practice management group located in Baltimore, Maryland. Needless to say the transaction among the Department, the independent Medical Center players – Wake Forest School of Medicine and North Caroline Baptist Hospital, and DentalCo was complicated.
To our knowledge, this was the first time an academic health center had ever entered into an agreement with a for-profit dental management organization for the purpose of continuing dental services in the academic health center. This hybrid model of dental education and practice is one that may have great potential for the future capital needs and growth of dentistry in academic health centers.
The Department of Dentistry had been successfully managing its clinical and financial affairs for many years and therefore had minimal need for DentalCo’s help in these areas. However, the central reason for doing a transaction with DentalCo was to gain access to capital for clinic remodeling or rebuilding.
After approximately a half year of partnering with DentalCo it became evident to the PA that DentalCo was not able to provide the necessary capital. At that point a strategy was developed to terminate DentalCo as our business partner and find a business partner which indeed could capitalize the clinic remodeling and bring other items of value to bear on the success of the PA.
We were quite fortunate in June of 1999 to complete a transaction with American Dental Partners which essentially terminated DentalCo’s interest and set up a service agreement between University Dental Associates and American Dental Partners. Since the conclusion of that transaction, both partners have worked very hard in developing University Dental Associates. The capital provided by American Dental Partners has enabled the PA to develop some of the finest facilities in the area and to continue the success and growth of the previous years.
The Department of Dentistry has always been involved in accreditation activities, both through the American Dental Association for the educational process and through The Joint Commission (TJC) for the hospital aspects of the practice.
Our founding chairman, Dr. Charles Jerge, had a major role in developing the dental accreditation process and promoting its assumption by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. (AAAHC). Both the P.A. and American Dental Partners are committed to the accreditation process as an important method for continuous improvement in our practice.
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University Dental Associates Community and Service Area
Historically, the Department of Dentistry has served patients and the community in the Northwest region of North Carolina and the Southwest region of Virginia.
This officially includes 5 counties in Virginia and an additional 19 contiguous and surrounding counties in Northwest North Carolina. In that sense the practice has always been a regional practice, however, the vast majority of our patients come from Forsyth and the contiguous counties of Davidson, Davey, Yadkin, Stokes, Surrey, Rockingham, and Guilford counties.
The population of the greater Winston-Salem area is about 175,000, and at present the Wake Forest Baptist Health is the largest employer in the county with over 11,000 employees.
About 35% of the patients seen at University Dental Associates are employees of WFBH. Within the last year we have entered into several PPO arrangements with third parties and have noticed an increase in patients from Guilford County in particular as a result of these contractual relationships.
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Ownership of University Dental Associates
University Dental Associates is owned by dentists, all of whom are full-time practitioners. Of the owners, 5 are also employed by the School of Medicine in the Department of Dentistry and these individuals, in addition to their clinic activities in University Dental Associates, have teaching and research responsibilities within the Department of Dentistry and the School of Medicine. The owners are Drs. Raymond Garrison, David Kretzschmar, Charles Massler, Judith Messura, Rex Purcell, Rich Daniel.
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