New collaborative partnership offers advanced learning opportunity for dental-school graduates

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and the University at Buffalo (UB) have been granted accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation for a newly created general-practice dental residency program. Students in the one-year program will rotate between the UB Dental and RPCI Dental Services.

The training program is designed to provide qualified graduates of dental schools with a fundamental knowledge of the multidisciplinary care of oncology patients, along with in-depth practical training in dental care for these patients. Residents will receive instruction and hands-on education in the treatment of patients who have been recently diagnosed with head and neck cancers, as well as education in comprehensive dental treatments for patients who are either undergoing active cancer therapies or are in remission. Residents also will have the opportunity to participate in current research projects involving the early detection of oral cancer in high-risk patients.

University at Buffalo faculty will oversee the residents’ academic and clinical training. Residents at Roswell Park will spend approximately 70% of their time in the clinical care of patients, under the supervision of academic and practicing dental clinicians specializing in oncology.

Specialized training for dental oncologists is important, as cancer patients have unique dental needs. Many cancer therapies cause side effects to oral tissues or can decrease a patient’s ability to fight infection, including dental infections.

“The residency program provides the opportunity to obtain advanced knowledge and expertise in providing dental care to patients before, during and after treatment for cancer,” says Moni Abraham Kuriakose, MD, FRCS, Vice Chair of the Department of Head & Neck Surgery/Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Roswell Park. “We believe this joint academic program will benefit the region greatly, as we will advance the training of dentists who will be providing dental care to cancer patients in the Western New York community and beyond.”

Heidi C. Crow, DMD, MS, Chair of the department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences within the School of Dental Medicine at UB, added, “We believe the UB-Roswell Park collaborative program will allow dental residents the opportunity to learn from experts both at UB and Roswell in the comprehensive care of patients who are battling the effects of cancer.”