Midwestern University Dental Institute, Downers Grove, Illinois
Midwestern University’s new Dental Institute in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, Illinois, is a new teaching facility that opened in June 2013, featuring a beautiful dental office design. It provides the University’s dental students with a state-of-the-art learning environment while offering a valuable service to the community. Third-year students care for patients, under supervision, using many cutting-edge dental technologies that allow them to experience a wide range of equipment and techniques.
Dental medicine is a new graduate degree program for Midwestern University. In 2011, it opened a dental school on its Glendale, Arizona, campus, and Henry Schein was a part of that build. When they began planning for the Downers Grove campus, it was natural to partner with Henry Schein once again. The Institute was constructed so it would be ready for dental students who were making their transition from the classroom to clinical work. By spring 2014, 260 aspiring dentists will be part of the program.
Originally a school for osteopathic medicine that was founded in 1900, Midwestern University has enjoyed dramatic growth and a broadening of course offerings, particularly in the last 25 years.
Across its two campuses, it offers health services graduate degree programs in osteopathic medicine; pharmacy; health sciences, which includes physical therapy and speech language pathology; optometry; and dental medicine. Midwestern’s Dental Institute is the first new dental school in Illinois in three decades and one of just three in the entire state.
“Midwestern is focused on the education of health care professionals, and opening a new College of Dental Medicine fit with the mission of the University,” said Dr. Darryn Weinstein, Assistant Dean of Midwestern University.
Henry Schein Relationship Continues with New Project
The five-story, 193,000-square-foot building, which also houses offices and clinical spaces for other degree programs, was built in what was formerly a cornfield close to the campus. The project received preliminary approval in December 2010, and after the University addressed some traffic and drainage concerns, construction began in August 2011.
“The University has been partnering with an architectural firm and a construction company for many projects over the last couple of decades and working with Henry Schein for the last eight years,” noted Dr. Weinstein. “Our first steps were to meet with our experts to discuss the scope of the project and outline the necessary steps required to bring it to fruition.
Henry Schein provided a knowledge base on equipment and materials to regulations and code. They were able to provide quick responses and to work with the architects and construction company to assure the inclusion of all technical needs and specifications in the design and construction of the facility.”
Henry Schein Special Markets Regional Equipment Manager Michael Minor was very involved in the project from the beginning. Along with support from the local Chicago Center Henry Schein Team Members, the plans were sometimes revised from what was on paper after doing a walk-through.
“At times, we would get there and start designing,” noted Mr. Minor. “We would rework [the plans] with the faculty to be sure the flow was good and the placement of equipment was right.”
“Midwestern is focused on the education of health care professionals, and opening a new College of Dental Medicine fit with the mission of the University.”
State-of-the-Art Technology Broadens Training Opportunities
The clinic has 216 total operatories: a mix of pods, an open-bay pediatric area, four surgical suites, and two quiet rooms for fearful or anxious patients. Specialty care, such as oral surgery, is provided on the first floor and general dentistry on the second and third floors. The operatories are outfitted with comfortable Elevance® chairs, units, stools, and lights, all from Midmark.
The school has invested in many complementary technologies, such as having both Gendex and DEXIS digital sensors. The goal is to give students maximum exposure to and hands-on experience with a wide variety of equipment. The school purchased an i-CAT, a SOREDEX CRANEX® D panoramic cepholometric system, a SOREDEX CRANEX® Novus, Gendex expert DC intraoral X-rays, Galaxy X-ray chairs, ACTEON intraoral cameras, and Accutron nitrous oxide systems.
“We have state-of-the-art technology in multiple areas, from CAD/CAM and operative microscopes to electric handpieces and electronic patient records,” said Dr. Weinstein.
Additionally, the hospital-grade sterilization center was equipped with a full range of options, so students would become familiar with many types of work flows and procedures.
“The sterilization center is equipped with Midmark and L&R Ultrasonics, a SciCan Statim and Midmark M11 Sterilizers. It also has Miele disinfectors,” said Mr. Minor. “Every sterilization technique is available to expose students to best practices using all of the technologies.”
Overall, the dental school employs 24 full-time general dentists, 30 dental assistants, and 15 other dentists working in the dental specialties. There are also 11 dedicated sterilization and dispensing technicians.
Design Ideal for Both Teaching and Patient Care
Jennifer Rhode of Henry Schein’s National Design Group’s input was invaluable to the completion of this facility. The Facility provides an optimal layout for instruction while it offers the community an exceptional dental experience. The clinic is seeing nearly 2,000 patients!
The clinic features a fully functional dental lab on the lower level. “The design of the building optimizes patient flow and productivity—from the time the patient parks in the adjacent complimentary parking garage, enters our comfortable and welcoming facility, receives care in our ultramodern clinical area, and leaves after a positive professional interaction with our Oral Health Care Team,” noted Dr. Weinstein.
The Institute blends warmth and brightness with clean, efficient lines, and it is a wonderful place for the faculty and staff to work.
“The atmosphere is relaxing and professional,” explained Dr. Weinstein. “This is intentional as many situations related to health care, and particularly for dentistry, are surrounded by fears and concerns. Optimizing the environment to diminish these reactions is important. It’s difficult to imagine a more stress-free environment in which to practice dentistry and provide care to patients!”
Mr. Minor agrees: “This facility is functionally and aesthetically top-notch. Midwestern University, Henry Schein, and all of the students can definitely feel proud of this facility.”