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ATSU’s St. Louis Dental Center breaking language barriers and making headlines

A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health is helping provide dental care for underserved populations by breaking the language barriers often faced by those from diverse linguistic backgrounds – and making headlines while doing so. 

The St. Louis Dental Center, which is a partnership between A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) and Affinia Healthcare, was recently featured on Fox 2 St. Louis, sharing the University’s mission to serve the underserved with the local community.

According to Affinia Healthcare, 10% of their patients are better served in a language other than English, and roughly 56 different languages are spoken by their client base. Interpretation services are provided at no cost to patients, allowing language barriers to come down, which builds trust between clinicians and patients. 

“Sometimes when you have those barriers it’s not even a matter of miscommunication but just feeling like you’re comfortable with telling your clinician what’s going on,” said St. Louis Dental Center student dentist Brandon Leavitt, D4, while speaking with Fox 2.

Language barriers, stigma, and bias are just some of the barriers individuals may face while trying to receive the comprehensive, high-quality oral healthcare they need. Through services like the ones provided at the St. Louis Dental Center, closing the gap in access to dental care can become closer to reality. 

Not only does the dental center impact the diverse populations of the St. Louis area, but it also provides dentists from diverse international backgrounds an opportunity to practice dentistry in the U.S. 

ATSU-MOSDOH’s Advanced Standing International Dentist program enables internationally educated dentists who desire to earn their doctor of dental medicine (DMD) degree for practice in the U.S. to do so at the St. Louis Dental Center.

The program recently welcomed its first group of students, who will complete a special semester-long didactic and clinical simulation course before completing coursework which is similar to the traditional DMD program’s curriculum, after which they will receive their DMD degree.

Through this important work being done at the St. Louis Dental Center, ATSU continues to be the preeminent University for health professions, providing compassionate, whole person healthcare to underserved communities across the globe. 

Learn more about the St. Louis Dental Center from Fox 2 St. Louis here:


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