Pacific Northwest College of Well being Sciences in Yakima has a brand new dean to take its deliberate college of dental medication from a imaginative and prescient right into a actuality.
Dr. Fotinos Panagakos will function the founding dean for PNWU’s college of dental medication, which is within the improvement stage, a information launch mentioned. The brand new dental college will prepare dentists for rural and underserved communities.
“I’m simply very honored to have been chosen. Dental faculties don’t open each different day, it’s extra of a rarity,” he mentioned in an interview. “And to be requested to tackle this accountability and realizing how essential it isn’t just for the college, however for the Yakima Valley and the broader Pacific Northwest.”
Panagakos mentioned the subsequent step is to recruit further college.
After that comes the accreditation course of, which might take round 12 to 18 months, he mentioned. Faculty management must develop establishing paperwork and submit them to the Fee on Dental Accreditation.
“I wouldn’t need to begin recruiting college students till we all know we had that accreditation in hand,” he mentioned.
There is no such thing as a agency opening date for the varsity, however Panagakos anticipates fall 2025 as an inexpensive time to welcome its top quality.
The College of Washington has the state’s sole college of dental medication, although a number of dental hygiene faculties exist on either side of the Cascades. Whereas UW’s dental college has a rural outreach program for its college students, data from the Rural Well being Data Hub reveals gaps in care stay.
Everything of Jap Washington — aside from a part of Grant County — is taken into account a dental care scarcity space, in keeping with the RHIH.
An getting older workforce of rural dentists, mixed with the widely excessive value of dental faculties and the necessity to repay scholar loans contribute to the difficulty, Panagakos mentioned.
PNWU’s dental college will in the future prepare a dental workforce to assist alleviate the issue.
“We’re going to be coaching main care dentists, to exit into these underserved communities and supply oral well being in addition to normal well being providers,” he mentioned. That features screening for diabetes and hypertension, providing dietary counseling, and figuring out behavioral or emotional points.
The purpose of PNWU’s dental college is reflective of the college’s bigger purpose to coach certified well being care professionals to serve rural and underserved areas, Panagakos mentioned.
Panagakos serves as affiliate dean for analysis and postdoctoral affairs on the West Virginia College Faculty of Dentistry, however PNWU’s altruistic imaginative and prescient is a part of what attracted Panagakos to the Yakima college.
“That mission actually resonated with me right here in West Virginia,” he mentioned. “We’ve got the same problem with underserved populations in very rural communities.”
His place with PNWU begins remotely in early Could, he mentioned. He’ll stay in West Virginia to see out the rest of its educational yr and graduation.