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by Bob Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), April 25, 2014 - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon joined St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, local leaders and university officials in St. Louis at a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health's Dental Education and Oral Health Clinic (ATSU-MOSDOH).
Today's festivities took place at 1500 Park Avenue on a lot just north of The Georgian Condominiums, built on the site of the former St. Louis City Hospital.
"This is the next vital step improving access to oral health care for Missouri families and providing technical training and experience for the next generation of dental students who will serve the Midwest and the entire country," began Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in his remarks before an enthusiastic crowd that included forty-two ATSU students. The Governor commented that he was proud to cut the ribbon on the Kirksville, Mo., campus.
"This unique partnership between A.T. Still University and Grace Hill Health centers is both innovative and unprecedented," emphasized the Governor.
"Obviously, they have already started work," he added. The audience laughed as he noted that the heavy construction equipment was quiet for the groundbreaking event.
The Governor said that the project will help Missouri stay competitive in training graduates in a field that continues to grow.
"The clinic will have the potential to serve more than 11,000 patients," stated Governor Nixon as the crowd applauded. He noted that because poor oral health has been linked to other diseases, this clinic will help prevent more serious issues from developing and reduce overall healthcare costs.
"When completed, this venture will also contribute to the growth and health of the local economy by creating eighty new jobs right here in St. Louis," he emphasized. "These are good paying, family-supporting jobs like dental assistants, clerks and hygienists who will then pass along their knowledge to another generation of dental students."
St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay acknowledged that the collaboration between A.T. Still University and Grace Hill was exceptional.
"It's more than just a great institution coming to the former City Hospital complex to provide quality oral health care. This University is going to train dentists and provide dental care for people who could not otherwise afford it. It is our hope that they will set up practices in our city, including in the underserved neighborhoods," stated Slay.
Craig M. Phelps, president, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, told the audience that ATSU board members were very involved in the selection and purchase of the site for the new facility. "They formed a real estate team that guided us through the process of having discussions at all levels in St. Louis. They voted on the purchase of the land and for the bonds that had to be sold to develop the project."
Dr. Dorothy M. Munch, ATSU Board of Trustees and a family practice physician in Popular Bluff, deals day and day out with people who don't have access to health and dental care. "It is a critical issue in health care," said Dr. Munch. "They come to me with dental problems and there isn't much I can do. Getting more dentists and more kids trained in a community health care is just a tremendous asset to our whole state, St. Louis and the nation."
Once completed, the new 79,000-square-foot dental education and oral health clinic, designed by Cannon Design and built by Musick Construction, will be dedicated to the citizens of Missouri.
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