Construction starts on dental training site
WILLMAR -- The first students to train at a new regional dental clinic in Willmar will arrive in early December. Construction began last month on the clinic, a joint venture between Rice Memorial Hospital and the University of Minnesota to provid...
WILLMAR -- The first students to train at a new regional dental clinic in Willmar will arrive in early December.
Construction began last month on the clinic, a joint venture between Rice Memorial Hospital and the University of Minnesota to provide hands-on training in a rural setting for dentistry and dental hygiene students at the university.
The project also is expected to improve regional access to dental care, particularly for those who are uninsured.
"We know that there will be demand out there. This is a population that really needs services," said Lorry Massa, CEO of Rice Memorial Hospital.
Construction of the clinic is about two months behind schedule -- it was originally supposed to open in October -- but has been moving forward.
It will be located on the third floor of Rice Memorial Hospital's west wing.
Massa gave a progress report this week to the hospital's board of directors.
A dental director was hired in August and began working this past week. Dr. Robert Erickson was previously in private practice in Madison, Wis., and has been on the faculty of the general residency program in dentistry operated by Meriter Hospital in Madison.
Interviews are expected to conclude this week for the office manager position. Other staff positions will be posted and filled later this fall.
Area dentists from 12 surrounding counties have been invited to a meeting Oct. 4 in Willmar, during which information will be presented about the project and about opportunities for area dentists to be part-time faculty, Massa said. It's hoped that as many as 20 dentists from the area will agree to serve as adjunct faculty, he said.