For the first time in nearly half a century, Westchester will be home to a brand new school of dental medicine. New York Medical College (NYMC) has recently been granted approval by the New York State Board of Regents to open the Touro College of Dental Medicine in Valhalla. The college will be located in NYMC’s former Skyline Drive Building, soon to be refurbished with $2.07 million contributed by the state.
According to Jay P. Goldsmith, D.M.D. and founding dean of the Touro College of Dental Medicine, the rationale behind the new school lies in Westchester’s pressing need for dental health professionals. “We decided to push to open New York’s first new dental school in nearly 50 years because of the growing shortage for dentists and dental education throughout the state,” shares Goldsmith. “Although the area has a decent population of dentists, New York State is underserved as a whole.”
Goldsmith points to a recent survey that found that more than a quarter of New Yorkers are “not visiting the dentist because of trouble finding one, which is significantly higher than the 15% national average for the same issue.” Wasting no time, the college has already accepted its inaugural class.
While these are statewide issues, Goldsmith believes Westchester in particular will benefit from the school’s influx of graduates. “Our hope is that students will take an interest in providing dental healthcare to underserved communities—both rural and urban,” notes Goldsmith. “That being said, with the addition of an onsite dental clinic, we expect a number of graduates to become rooted in the local area, and the larger Hudson valley region.”
It is hoped that Touro College will be in a unique position to combat the lack of dental health specialists, as it is both a teaching college and the first school of its kind in several years. But above all, NYMC hopes that the school will serve all those in the region who need it most. “Touro College of Dental Medicine will include a 150-chair community dental clinic focused on providing patients in underserved communities in the Hudson Valley and the Bronx with affordable and quality treatment,” says Goldsmith. “In the long-term, the school will create a regional pipeline of dentists who will help enhance dental care in New York State for future generations.”