Community leaders celebrate Hibbing clinic

Hibbing Community Center Dental Clinic celebration

The School of Dentistry and the Northeastern District Dental Society (NEDDS) co-hosted an August 31 event for more than 70 professional and community leaders in Hibbing to celebrate the Hibbing Community Center Dental Clinic and Dean-Emeritus Michael J. Till, DDS, MS, PhD, whose leadership and vision led to the clinic launch in Fall 2001. The dental clinic was the first cooperative initiative between the School of Dentistry and Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU). It brought together academic and community dentists, elected officials, community leaders, and both higher education systems to educate students and address a community need for expanded access to oral health care. Since Fall 2001, the University has sent more than 1,000 students to Hibbing to treat 9,000 patients. About 350 HCC dental assisting students have treated patients alongside our dental and dental hygiene students, and 15 new U-M educated dentists now practice in the area. Plus, the HCC clinic marked the first expansion of the dental school’s outreach program that today includes clinical rotations at 16 sites throughout Minnesota, and North and South Dakota.

The event included a CDE lecture on opioids/prescribing protocols by Harold Tu, MD, DMD, followed by a luncheon and program that recapped the history of the clinic and Dr. Till's role in shaping dental education in Minnesota. Event speakers were Dr. Peter Mayer (President, NEDDS), Dean Gary Anderson, School of Dentistry alumnus Dr. Michael Zakula, and Dr. Till. Third-year dental students Jennifer Enich and Andy Aldrich – both recipients of the Michael J. Till Northern Minnesota Dental Scholarship - unveiled a sign for the clinic reception area that recognized Dr. Till and the HCC Dental Clinic for contributions to the community.