UW News

May 21, 2009

Walls and ground broken for new children’s oral health facility

By Dana Slote Robinson
Early Childhood Oral Health

Nearly a year and a half after contributing $5 million to combat childhood dental disease, executives from Washington Dental Service and the WDS Foundation leadership, together with representatives of Seattle Children’s and the UW School of Dentistry, donned hard hats and brandished sledge hammers to take part in a “wall breaking” ceremony for a new children’s oral health facility. No ordinary celebration, the event marked a significant milestone in a substantial renovation of an existing building that will expand preventive oral health care services for children in Washington state and surrounding region.

The structure formerly known as Building 25 will be called the Washington Dental Service Building for Early Childhood Oral Health and will open its doors in September 2010. Faculty, staff and residents will provide 30,000 pediatric dental visits annually for healthy children and those with urgent or complex oral health care needs.

Resulting from a joint collaboration between the UW School of Dentistry and Seattle Children’s, and in partnership with Washington Dental Service, Washington Dental Service Foundation, ECOH will consist of 28,000 square feet of space to accommodate progressive clinical, research and training programs to address the ever-growing crisis of childhood dental disease. The building resides on UW property in the former air traffic control tower for the Sand Point Naval Base in Magnuson Park in Seattle. 

Dr. Joel Berg directs the program in his dual role as the chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and director of Dentistry at Seattle Children’s. Sara Paul is program manager, while Dana Robinson Slote serves as the community outreach and marketing manager. More information is available online: www.uwecoh.org.  

Representatives of Early Childhood Oral Health partners took part in launching the building’s construction. They included Cindy Evans, vice president, Ambulatory and Regional Services, Seattle Children’s; Ron Inge, vice president and dental director, Washington Dental Service; Laura Smith, president and CEO, Washington Dental Service Foundation; Jim Dwyer, president and CEO, Washington Dental Service; Martha Somerman, dean, UW School of Dentistry; Joel Berg, chair, UW Department of Pediatric Dentistry and director of Dentistry at Seattle Children’s; and Eric Smith, director, Capital Projects Office, University Facilities Building.