FIRST REGULAR SESSION
House Concurrent Resolution No. 13
96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES WYATT (Sponsor), REDMON, QUINN, HOUGHTON, SHUMAKE, FRANKLIN, ASBURY, BURLISON, FITZWATER, HAEFNER, LEACH, KELLEY (126), McNARY, ALLEN, NOLTE, KELLY (24), HOSKINS, RICHARDSON, SMITH (150), HINSON, SIFTON, NASHEED, BAHR, JONES (63), ZERR, ELLINGER, CRAWFORD, BLACK, COLONA, WEBBER, SCHUPP, MONTECILLO, LASATER, DIEHL AND CAUTHORN (Co-sponsors).
WHEREAS, Missouri has only one dental school, which is at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The state ranks 47th in residents visiting a dentist. About 18% of Missouri's residents live in a dental health professional shortage area, compared to 10% of residents of the United States as a whole. Missouri also has more than 140 designated dental health professional shortage areas. Each year in Missouri 70 dentists retire, to be replaced by only 40 new practitioners; and
WHEREAS, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is considering three locations for establishing a new School of Dentistry and Oral Health based upon its dental education program in Mesa, Arizona. One of the three sites is Kirksville, Missouri; the other two are in California and Florida. ATSU has initiated a feasibility study to be completed prior to its next Board of Trustees meeting in early February 2011. Early findings indicate a great need for dentists in public practice in Missouri; and
WHEREAS, ATSU has a long history in Kirksville, beginning with the founding of the world's first School of Osteopathic Medicine there in 1892. ATSU's commitment to Kirksville, northeast Missouri, and the whole State of Missouri is longstanding and continues to be firm. A School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Kirksville would further cement that commitment; and
WHEREAS, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors cites a twenty-year decline in the number of practicing dentists and projects a continuing drop in dental school graduates. Addressing the unmet needs of dental patients in rural Missouri and other underserved areas in Missouri exactly fits ATSU's mission and would benefit northeastern Missouri and the entire state. The ATSU model focuses on preparing dentists for public health practice; and
WHEREAS, the positive economic impact on Kirksville and the surrounding northern Missouri area will be in the tens of millions of dollars annually. ATSU's preliminary goal would be to open the new school in Fall 2013 with an inaugural class of about 45 students; and
WHEREAS, the Missouri Primary Care Association actively supports the establishment of ATSU's dental school in Kirksville. The Association is a statewide organization of community health centers (CHCs) which serve medically underserved areas and vulnerable populations, including rural locations such as northeast Missouri. CHCs outside of Missouri in 10 states, including Kansas, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Iowa, as well as the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, have also pledged their support to an ATSU dental school in Kirksville; and
WHEREAS, ATSU officials believe that establishing a new dental school in Missouri will require the development of numerous strategic partnerships. For example, ATSU estimates that the startup costs for a dental school in Kirksville will be approximately $30 million over five years. The new school will require satellite clinical sites outside Kirksville in locations like Springfield, St. Louis, or Columbia that would be organized cooperatively with local CHCs. Consequently, ATSU is working with a number of organizations, such as the Missouri Foundation for Health, the national CHC organization, Missouri CHCs, and others, to help defray the cost and to organize the partnerships necessary to make this initiative a reality; and
WHEREAS, Governor Jay Nixon has already expressed support for the program:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-sixth General Assembly, First Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby strongly support the selection of Kirksville, Missouri, as the site for A.T. Still University's new School of Dentistry and Oral Health; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives be instructed to prepare a properly inscribed copy of this resolution for the A.T. Still University Board of Trustees.