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ATSU-ASHS Doctor of Audiology class of 2023 white coat ceremony

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) celebrated the doctor of audiology class of 2023 with a socially distanced white coat ceremony.

“I am extremely proud of our 10 doctor of audiology students in their second year who are sitting here in front of me today,” said Tabitha Parent-Buck, AuD, department chair, professor. “This white coat provides a symbolic transition from the didactic classroom education to the more clinical years of the AuD program.”

Tabitha Parent-Buck, AuD, department chair, professor

Several ATSU-ASHS faculty members were present and participated in the ceremony. The stage party also included Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MPH, dean ATSU-ASHS, associate professor; Norman Gevitz, PhD, ATSU senior vice president of academic affairs; and Craig Phelps, DO, ’84, ATSU president. In consideration for COVID-19 safety protocols, students were already in their white coats when their names were called. Each student took a moment, while at the front of the room, to thank the people who helped them get to this point, who joined the celebration virtually.

“Doctor of audiology class of 2023, congratulations on receiving your white coats today,” Dr. Burch said. “You’ve worked so hard to get to this point and faced numerous challenges this past year and all along the way, but have overcome these by your resiliency, sense of purpose, and hard work.”

Natasha Howard, AuD, ’13, provided the keynote address for the ceremony.

“It’s what you do outside of your profession’s description that will make you an outstanding audiologist,” Dr. Howard said. “With everything going on in the world right now, you, as students, have a very important role as future healthcare professionals. You are the future of audiology. Just remember, the well-being of your patients comes first, wear your white coat proudly, stay true to your oath, do your absolute best, and don’t forget to have fun.”

Natasha Howard, AuD, ’13

Students took a moment to recite the Doctor of Audiology Oath together, declaring their commitment to practicing audiology to the best of their abilities.

“The students made a commitment when they chose the profession of audiology as their career for the future. They made another commitment when they chose ATSU with its osteopathic heritage and dedication to improving patient outcomes through whole person healthcare,” Dr. Parent-Buck said. “The white coat they receive today represents our wish to help them learn the necessary skills and develop the professional behaviors to become compassionate and humble caregivers, providing audiology care to the best of their abilities.”

Monday, April 26, marked the opening of the 2021 Beyond Flexner Virtual Conference, co-hosted by A.T. Still University (ATSU) and Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Here are a few of the many highlights from the first day:

ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, ‘84, welcomes attendees

“Beyond Flexner reminds us to restore the human component of healthcare,” Dr. Phelps said. 

“Current and future leaders participating in the conference are who our nation and world look to for medical education and healthcare innovations, energy, thoughts, and ideas.”

Leana Wen, MD, MSc, FAAEM, provides Monday’s keynote address

On Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, PhD, founder of Beyond Flexner Alliance…

“The work of social mission is not done. The work of health equity in public health is not done. Throughout his life, Fitz had carried the torch as he taught our master class here at Beyond Flexner, in leadership, scholarship, and humanity. Now, we are the ones carrying forth Fitz’s legacy and carrying on his life’s work as our own,” said Dr. Wen, emergency physician, visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

“It’s up to each of us to channel Fitz’s fire in the belly, and it’s up to each of us to be the examples for others to follow and to strive for not only a better world, but a fairer and more equitable world.”

On public health’s invisible importance…

“Public health saved your life today. You just don’t know it,” Dr. Wen said. “The work that we do works when it’s invisible. By definition, there is no face of successful public health, because we have prevented something from happening.”

On COVID-19 lifting the curtain on health disparities…

“This is something all of us as Beyond Flexner people really understand about these underlying disparities that we have seen amplified during COVID-19,” Dr. Wen said. “All of these social determinants have really come out during the pandemic, and we have seen how COVID-19 has unveiled many of these issues. I hope this will give us additional impetus to addressing these going forward.”

On eliminating health disparities…

“When we don’t have intentional focus on disparities, we in fact see so many of the problems we’ve had during this pandemic,” Dr. Wen said. “Policies, if they are not intentional in addressing equity, will end up hurting those who are the most vulnerable the most.”

On what institutions can do to bring about change…

“I think public health should be core training for everyone. I would love to see teachers, police officers, people working in other fields also learn about the importance of public health, because the work that they do could be public health, too,” Dr. Wen said. “If they understand things from a public health lens, how different would that be?

“People in public health can do more by insisting that we are at the table. If we are not at the table for certain conversations, it is our job to either get ourselves to that table, or create our own tables. Otherwise, public health is going to be forgotten.”

ATSU faculty members present “Growing Our Own at ATSU- A: Innovative Learning Integration; B: Integrated Primary Care, Oral Health, and Behavioral Health; C: Community Empowerment.”

Presenters included Kim Perry, DDS, MSCS, FACD, associate vice president, University Strategic Partnerships; Sharon Obadia, DO, associate dean, clinical education and services; Patricia Inks, director, ATSU-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health Dentistry in the Community and Integrated Community Service Partnerships; Victoria Michaels, director, ATSU-Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) BRITE; Kimberly DeVore, MS, PA-C, assistant professor, director, clinical education. Moderated by Lihua Dishman, DBA, MBA, associate professor

This session highlighted steps for “growing our own” through innovative learning integrations, community empowerment, integrated learning experiences, integrated primary care, oral health, and behavioral health.

“I think about A.T. Still University living its mission and being intentional on what it is we say we will do. If we want to increase the number of healthcare providers in underserved patient populations, we have to do something to ensure that that happens,” Dr. Perry said.

“We look at how we can partner, how we can engage the community, how can we have a recruitment fair and build teams within our institution and then across to our community health centers, engage the students, and actually connect students to community health centers.” 

ATSU faculty members present “Social mission and health equity from classroom to clinic practice” session

Presenters included Marcia Arbizu, MBA, director, Integrated Community Service Partnerships; Heather A. Johnson, RDH, MEd, co-director, Dentistry in the Community; Victoria G. Michaels, LCSW, director, ATSU-ASDOH BRITE; and Wayne W. Cottam, DMD, MS, vice dean, ATSU-ASDOH   

The session examined ways ATSU-ASDOH works to introduce students to dentistry in the community and foster their future contributions to public health.

“We understand that maybe not all of our graduates will go on to public health. We really hope they do, but not all of them will. We at least want to plant those seeds in their minds to be community-minded dentists, even in their own private practices, whether it’s donating a day a month or a day a year to free dentistry, or to volunteer with organizations that provide free- or reduced-cost dentistry,” Arbizu said. “Again, planting those seeds to be that change in their communities.”

During the month of March, women’s history is celebrated, as is the athletic training profession. The Journal of Athletic Training (JAT) marked the occasion by producing the first-ever special edition journal focusing on “Celebrating Women Scholars in Athletic Training.” Tamara McLeod, PhD, ATC, FNATA, professor, director of athletic training program at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS), was a co-editor-in-chief for the issue, and Cailee Welch Bacon, PhD, ATC, associate professor, ATSU-ASHS, was a guest editor.

“It was an honor to work with Sandy Shultz, PhD, ATC, as the co-editors-in-chief for this issue,” said Dr. McLeod. “Having the JAT editor-in-chief turn the issue over to his female associate editors allowed the entire issue to be led by females. It was wonderful to work with our guest editors and oversee all of the great work that was submitted for publication for this issue.”

“I have never had the opportunity to serve as guest editor before, so knowing that my first opportunity was for such an empowering issue was an honor,” said Dr. Welch Bacon. “When Julie Cavallario, PhD, ATC, approached me with the idea of this special issue, I didn’t hesitate to get involved.”

While women make up a slight majority of the members within the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), there is a disparity of women in higher education and research. This article was an opportunity to showcase the women who are making strides in the research arena.

“Being able to dedicate an entire issue to show the strength of research by women is important for several reasons, including allowing female students to see research as a viable career option, educating the profession and other areas of sports medicine about the importance of scholarship by females, and recognizing the many efforts of women scholars,” said Dr. McLeod.

“We began to see a general trend that male scholars were highlighted significantly more than women scholars. Athletic training has done a better job than other fields in promoting women scholars, but there is still work to be done,” said Dr. Welch Bacon. “This issue is a stepping-stone in recognizing the hard work that women scholars do to contribute to the body of evidence in our field.”

This special edition of JAT was the first of its kind, but hopefully not the last.

“I hope it serves as a catalyst for female athletic trainers and athletic training students to consider research as a career option and pursue graduate degrees to allow them that opportunity,” said Dr. McLeod.

“I hope this issue draws attention to potential gender gaps in scholarly recognition and empowers women scholars in athletic training that their hard work is seen and greatly valued,” said Dr. Welch Bacon. “Personally, while Dr. McLeod and I have collaborated on numerous research projects and manuscript publications over the past 10 years, it was fun to get to work together on the other side of the publication process.”

Students of A.T. Still UniversitySchool of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona’s (ATSU-SOMA) class of 2021 recently participated in the Residency Round-Up. As a result of many of the in-person experiences being canceled over the past year, ATSU-SOMA’s Residency Readiness team of faculty and deans, put together a comprehensive workshop for fourth-year students to practice key skills and learn some new ones in a safe and fun environment.

Over the course of two days, students participated in synchronous and asynchronous activities with ATSU-SOMA faculty and their Regional Directors of Medical Education (RDMEs).

“As excited as I am about graduation in May, the pandemic left gaps in my medical education. The Residency Round-Up made up for the lack of procedures and clinical scenarios that I would have had without the pandemic,” Saman Manzouri, OMS IV, said.

“The Residency Round-Up had a lot of helpful, practical information, resources, and simulations. It was stressful, but good because it mimicked small but vital pieces of residency,” said Grace Kim, OMS IV. “It was also a safe place to make mistakes and to learn from them so that we are more prepared to be effective and strong communicators and leaders.”

“It allowed me to get together with fellow medical students in order to practice the essential aspects of being a resident: assessments, plans, procedures, answering pages, etc.,” said Daniel Heinze, OMS IV. “It allowed me to practice these skills in a supportive atmosphere, so they’d be easier to do under the stressors of an intern year.”

In honor of Women’s History Month, A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) department hosted a panel discussion in March titled, “Breaking Barriers for Women – Creating Paths for Future Leaders.” The panel consisted of Grishonda Branch-Mays, DDS, MS, professor, vice dean of academic affairs, ATSU-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (MOSDOH); Ann Lee Burch, PT, MPH, EdD, associate professor, dean of ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Science (ASHS); LaTricia Woods, MA, owner, Mahogany Xan Communications, LLC.

The discussion started with each panelist sharing their personal and unique experiences of breaking barriers throughout their careers.

“In dentistry, there are very few women who chair a department or are deans, there are very few who look like me. My first position as a chair, all of the faculty members in my department were all Caucasian men,” Dr. Branch-Mays said. “The barrier for me was being able to stand up at times and not being seen as too aggressive, but strong enough to lead. That is what I would say was one of the biggest barriers, of getting beyond that and valuing who I am first.”

Overcoming barriers of other people’s perceptions of energy levels and ambition was a common barrier panelist faced along the way.

“My sisters and I grew up learning that we could do anything we put our minds to. We were high-energy kids; my parents encouraged that energy. They encouraged thoughts of ambition; they encouraged this healthy competition between the three of us,” Dr. Burch said. “We learned that ambition, competition, and high energy were good things for women. Later, in my life, as I grew older, I found out that not everyone felt that way. But I think it is important as a woman to find out what you believe in very early on and then hold on to those beliefs.”

When you achieve your goals and finally have a seat at the table, Woods encourages women to not be afraid to stand firm when negotiating and not be afraid to ask for what you want and what you’re worth. 

“A barrier that I’ve had to overcome, that I think a lot of women have to overcome is, knowing your worth when it comes to negotiating salaries,” Woods said. “I know my first job as public information officer; I was so excited when I went through the process and they offered me the position and I took the first offer that they gave me. A while later, we were having a discussion and they said, ‘We really need to tell you that we would have paid you up to $10,000 more than what we offered you, but you didn’t ask.’”

Women working together to offer support and encouragement to each other is an integral piece of the puzzle. Creating a path for oneself does not have to be at the expense of creating a path for other women who follow. 

“There are barriers out there already, so we don’t need to continue to create barriers for ourselves. I think sometimes when we dream, when we set goals for ourselves, we talk ourselves out of what we want because we put self-imposed barriers on what we think we can achieve,” Woods said. “Just know that society is going to do that enough for you. Do not do that to yourself. If there is something that you want to do, if there is something you want to achieve, there are no barriers to doing that, other than the ones you put on yourself. Build your dreams without barriers, and while you’re doing that, find a way to create a path for others.”

Learn more about diversity and inclusion at ATSU by visiting

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) alumna Alyssa Fredericks, AT, ’09, recently received the Get Game Ready grant from The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation. The grant was developed as an opportunity for Title I schools to help their student athletes “Get Game Ready” after being faced with the abrupt cancellation of school sports due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Shaq Foundation offered the grant to provide low-income schools the opportunity to let their athletes participate in sports again,” Fredericks said. “The cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) required for sports to continue would be huge and not factored into our current budget.”

In order to be considered for the Get Game Ready grant, Fredericks submitted a detailed outline of what types of PPE would be necessary to meet the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) recommended guidelines for returning to athletic activity.

“With the current AIA mandates, all students are required to have masks, temperature checks, and we need to have increased sanitation stations,” Fredericks said. “We need things like different types of air filters, thermometers, and it takes a lot of money to get those things.”

Hopi Junior Senior High School, where Fredericks is a part-time athletic trainer (AT), was the only school in Arizona to be awarded the Get Game Ready grant and was awarded the full amount of $20,000.

Despite not having school sports since March 2020, Fredericks has been busy keeping her students active in sports medicine and being an advocate for the AT profession.

“I am still doing my sports medicine club with the high school students. When I was able to go to campus at one point, I grabbed as much tape and pre-wrap as I could, then I created a lot of taping videos,” Fredericks said. “I did drop-offs to all their homes, that way they could still practice and participate. I have been doing a lot of guest speakers for my students on Zoom, with a range of topics from different healthcare professionals.”

Fredericks joined forces with a colleague she met at a previous Arizona Athletic Trainers’ Association (AZATA) winter symposium to start the Native AT group. The group now has over 20 American Indian members from across the country who work together to advocate and promote the AT profession. The Native AT group was recently featured on a podcast episode of The Sports Medicine Broadcast, advocating to bring ATs to schools on reservations. Native AT has recently become a part of a research project with the University of West Florida, where opportunities of ATs on the reservation is being looked at closely.

“I’ve been collecting data during my time at the high school. Every evaluation, tape, ice bag, for the last three years, I have all that data,” Fredericks said. “Now as part of that research group, we are going to put a value to that, and note the unique aspects out here on the reservation.”

ATs are considered essential to healthcare and can provide additional support to offset some of the financial burdens of traditional medicine. Fredericks strives to fill a gap in research literature, where American Indians are seldom represented.

“Students primarily go to Indian Health Services and there is an assumption that they don’t pay for the services. However, we all know that any time you ride in an ambulance or go to the emergency room (ER), there is a cost associated with that,” Fredericks said. “We are looking at things like, if a parent has to take time off work to take the student to the ER, how much does that cost? If you get referred to Flagstaff or Phoenix, which are both hours away, how much is spent on food, room, and board?”

After growing up in the same community where she now teaches, Fredericks said she understands the importance of offering extracurricular activities, such as athletics and sports medicine club. She is concerned about pandemic fatigue for her students, so she is determined to be a constant in their lives and continues to provide ways for students to stay engaged while physically distanced.

“Recording the videos and continuing to do things with my sports medicine club, I figure that’s the best way I can try and keep my students engaged and give them ideas for training they can do on their own,” Fredericks said.

Click here to email the Native AT group for more information about joining the group.

Audiology student Cindy Jimenez, ’23, was recently appointed the education co-chair of the Student Academy of Doctors of Audiology (SADA) council. The council is comprised of a minimum of nine Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) students who collaborate with the ADA Board of Directors.

Jimenez has been a part of SADA since 2019 when she began as a member and then shortly after became a liaison for A.T. Still UniversityArizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS). When the opportunity became available, Jimenez applied for the education chair position.

“As the education chair, I serve as a liaison to the ADA education committee,” Jimenez said. “Our goal is to develop educational programming and resources that are useful for ADA student members. For example, inviting professionals to speak about a specific topic, hosting webinars, providing handbooks, and more.”

Jimenez discovered her passion for audiology during her undergraduate schooling. She was hooked after her first audiology class and began shadowing audiologists to learn more about the profession.

“Before graduating, the department chair of my undergraduate studies offered me a position as an audiology assistant in his four private practices,” Jimenez said. “I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be taught by my audiology professors in class and then have the ability to work beside them.”

Being a part of SADA has helped Jimenez gain valuable tools and experiences that will help prepare her for her future goal of going into private practice. While she is still exploring the various specialties within audiology, she said she is excited to be a part of SADA as they offer a great support system for audiology students.

“It is truly an honor to represent ATSU-ASHS with SADA,” Jimenez said. “ADA is great at communicating legislative news and updates, such as billing, coding, new laws, and regulations. ADA breaks it down for students to understand and digest much more easily. Overall, I feel that my experience with SADA has been very positive and I hope to become more involved in the future.”

Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MPH, dean of A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS), associate professor, was accepted to the Crisis Leadership in Higher Education program through Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School. Dr. Burch recently completed this training program, which was specifically designed for leaders in academia who are responsible for and interested in planning, implementing, and communicating during periods of crisis in higher education.

“After living and learning through the last year, which was a unique and challenging time for all institutions of higher education, I looked for a training that would combine defining what a crisis is, how turbulence is perceived by different communities of people within one university, and the impact of a novel situation, such as COVID-19,” Dr. Burch said.

Training included participants from universities from all over the world, which offered an opportunity to learn from unique experiences.

“The challenges that all faced during the past year from COVID-19 were so different in many regards because of the size, scope, or region of the universities. All participants recognized that when a novel crisis emerges, all of the answers are not in a playbook,” Dr. Burch said. “In other words, as the situation changes, our understanding of it changes and emerges. These types of crises are particularly challenging and require a flexible framework and a healthy degree of improvisation.

“I was grateful to be able to participate and learn from educators across the world who came with perspectives, strategies, and solutions so different from my own. From this rich diversity of thought comes deep learning. One of the reasons I love ATSU is that our community can face a situation like COVID-19 and throughout that time care for one another on a daily basis, while leaving space for creativity, inspiration, and opportunity.”

A.T. Still UniversityCollege of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS) has been awarded Exemplary Program status from Quality Matters (QM) for achieving recognition in all four of the program certification areas. Katherine Adler, DHA, FACHE, adjunct instructor, former associate dean of academic and assessments, and Sue McDaniel, MS, instructional designer, have been the leading force behind ATSU-CGHS’ review process.

QM is a global organization focusing on quality assurance for online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. QM program certification is achieved following a rigorous review process that examines components deemed critical to success in online learning.

“QM is the gold standard for recognizing online courses,” Dr. Adler said. “It covers a lot of things, but their main goal is alignment, meaning that everything in the course is aligned to help the students learn.”

“It is an assurance for students that a course is meeting a certain level of quality in terms of the structure,” McDaniel said.

QM has four categories for program review: Online Program Design, Online Teaching Support, Online Learner Success, and Online Learner Support. Each category of review has its own set of standards a course must meet to receive certification. Many institutions will strive to meet one standard at a time.

“We did something that nobody else has done,” Dr. Adler said. “We submitted all four reviews at once.”

QM completed the first course review, DHAD 7200, in December 2017. Later, 14 more courses were reviewed with QM managing the review process. The review team for each course consists of a master reviewer and two other peer reviewers. Review teams will go through each standard of the QM rubric to award a final score.

“You have to meet certain required standards, and if you don’t meet them, then you don’t pass,” McDaniel said. “If you meet all of the required standards and score 85 or better out of 100, then you are QM certified.”

After the first 15 courses were reviewed by QM, Dr. Adler and McDaniel determined they were ready to continue the process on their own, with Dr. Adler as the master reviewer. Over a 10-month span, 49 additional courses went through review.

“Dr. Adler had to manage all of those courses, as far as keeping track of getting them done,” McDaniel said. “I managed the process of finding the reviewers, getting the courses set up, and getting everybody where they needed to be, and then finishing up the paperwork with QM at the end. And that’s on top of our regular jobs.”

Every core course in the Doctor of Health Sciences, Doctor of Education, and Master of Kinesiology programs were included in the initial review process. ATSU-CGHS focused on these core courses because they were not going through curriculum modification at the time. When a course receives curriculum modification, it must run through two cycles before it can be submitted for review.

“QM asks you to run the course twice, see how it works, make your modifications, then send it through for review,” McDaniel said. “So, once the Master of Public Health and Master of Health Administration programs run their courses twice, we will start reviewing those courses next. Then, as new ATSU-CGHS programs get off the ground, we will send those courses through.”

With Dr. Adler and McDaniel putting courses through all four categories of review at one time, the outcome resulted in being awarded Exemplary Program status. ATSU-CGHS is the second program ever in QM’s history to achieve this high honor.

“The Exemplary Program process takes that course certification, which is what QM is known for, and takes it one step farther,” McDaniel said. “It says you didn’t just do this for a single course, but every course in your programs.”

“We will continue down this path even though we’ve gotten the Exemplary Program designation,” Dr. Adler said. “In order to keep it, we have to keep going.”

Written by Barbara Maxwell, PT, PhD, DPT, FNAP, professor, university director of interprofessional education & collaboration and Scott Howell, DMD, MPH, ’14, assistant professor, director of public health dentistry and teledentistry.

In 2015, A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) received a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant was awarded to fund the project, “Expanding Dental Workforce Training Within Collaborative, Team-Based Care Targeting Federally Qualified Health Centers and Underserved Populations.”

Although the HRSA grant was awarded to ATSU-ASDOH it involved an interprofessional collaboration with ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) physician assistant (PA) program, School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), and the office of Interprofessional Education and Collaboration. Jack Dillenberg, DDS, MPH, dean emeritus, and Wayne Cottam, DMD, MS, vice dean ATSU-ASDOH, associate professor, served as principal investigators for this HRSA grant.

“Over the last five years this grant has provided rich opportunities for countless members of the ATSU community to engage in interprofessional teamwork with a focus on oral-systemic health. Students have been supported in developing their interprofessional collaborative competencies and patients have benefited through receiving effective interprofessional collaborative care that has improved their outcomes. Such actions have ensured the success of this collaborative HRSA grant,” said Barbara Maxwell, PT, PhD, DPT, FNAP, professor, university director of interprofessional education and collaboration.

Please note: This image was taken during an event prior to the implementation of social distancing.

“This grant has allowed all of us to work together to build on an incredible foundation while also developing some amazing new opportunities for our students,” said Scott Howell, DMD, MPH, ’14, assistant professor, director of public health dentistry and teledentistry.

The grant was completed in 2020 but the impacts will continue well beyond the grant project. Here are just some of the accomplishments achieved through the collaborative efforts of those involved.

Curriculum development and educational opportunities

  • 1,500 ATSU-ASDOH, ATSU-SOMA, ATSU-ASHS students participated in a new IPE didactic curriculum focused on developing four collaborative competencies: interprofessional communication, teamwork, roles and responsibilities, and ethics and values for interprofessional collaboration (Interprofessional Education Collaborative, 2016).
  • A new curriculum, teaching anesthesia to medical providers, was taught to several PA cohorts and one ATSU-SOMA cohort at the HealthPoint Clinic, by ATSU-ASDOH faculty, fourth-year dental students, and general dental resident teaching assistants.
  • Hundreds of dental and dental hygiene students received training focused on providing effective care to individuals with special needs.
  • Oral health topics were incorporated into both the PA and ATSU-SOMA curriculum.
  • Dozens of poster presentations, oral presentations, and panel discussions were delivered at local, state, national, and international meetings and conferences.
Please note: This image was taken during an event prior to the implementation of social distancing.

“I would say the biggest impact I have seen from our collective collaborative attempts throughout these experiences has been producing and nurturing an unprejudiced mentality within our student body across all different programs. This, in my opinion, has been our subliminal message while we kept the patient’s best interest in our hearts,” said Mindy Motahari, DMD, assistant dean, assistant professor.

Experiences in the ATSUASDOH clinic

  • Hundreds of PA and ATSU-SOMA students have engaged in interprofessional clinical experiences in the ATSU-ASDOH clinic led by third- and fourth-year dental students and ATSU-ASDOH faculty. Experiences have included oral cancer screenings, comprehensive patient care, emergency dental triaging, and exposure to patients with orofacial pain and temporomandibular joint disorders.

“This grant provided numerous opportunities for faculty and students from across the university to engage in interprofessional research. ATSU was well-represented at many national and international professional meetings, where we shared our research findings as well as our model for how to approach interprofessional education. We have also disseminated the outcomes of these activities in the scientific literature. We are grateful to HRSA for supporting our institution,” said Ann Spolarich, RDH, PhD, assistant dean of research, professor.

Community expansion and additional ATSU-ASDOH support

  • Several new community and private industry partnerships have been established through this grant.
  • Teledentistry has been used to support the needs of children in detention, low-income seniors, and men in re-entry programs/substance use treatment programs. Hundreds of patients have received, and continue to receive, care both in the community and at the ATSU-ASDOH dental clinics.
  • Four new faculty/staff members have been added to ATSU.
  • Clinical IPE experiences with around 150 medical and dental students in the medical clinic at HealthPoint which resulted in the evaluation of more than 400 patients with dozens of referrals between medical and dental services.

“The dental students have continually expressed to me how much they have learned from the experience because even though they know and understand what they are doing for that comprehensive exam when they are teaching and interacting with PA students, they are learning the content in a whole different way. And the bonus is that the patients have loved the experience as well, having two different health care professionals working with them to take care of their needs,” said Colleen Trombly, RDH, MHSA, assistant professor.

“During my regular clinical observation sessions with [medical] students, I started noticing they were gloving up when they got to the mouth exam and putting their fingers inside the mouth for a more complete exam than I ever learned in medical school. Their ability to be helpful was drastically increased and most of them had more knowledge than many of their preceptors when patients appeared with a mouth problem,” said Ruth Michaelis, MD, HealthPoint Medical, regional director of medical education WA campus, associate professor.

Please note: This image was taken during an event prior to the implementation of social distancing.

Many thanks to all of the faculty and staff involved in supporting the success of this grant including:


  • Jack Dillenberg, DDS, MPH, dean emeritus
  • Wayne Cottam, DMD, MS, vice dean, associate professor
  • Mindy Motahari, DMD, assistant dean, assistant professor
  • Scott Howell, DMD, MPH, ’14, assistant professor, director of public health dentistry & teledentistry
  • Colleen Trombly, RDH, MHSA, assistant professor
  • Ann Spolarich, RDH, PhD, assistant dean of research, professor
  • Maureen Perry, DDS, MPA, associate dean, advanced education & strategic partnerships, director, The Center for Advanced Oral Health
  • Heather Johnson, RDH, MEd, co-director of dentistry in the community, instructor
  • Yvettte Thornton, RDH, MPH, co-director of dentistry in the community, instructor
  • Jessi Walker-Livingston, BSDH, RDH, adjunct professor
  • Emily Hawkins, RDH, adjunct instructor
  • Eric Harris, DDS, director, clinical education and outreach
  • Joni Podmanik, RDH, MEd, instructor dental hygiene
  • Jessica Cady, coordinator, dental assistant clinical education and outreach
  • Bob Trombly, DDS, JD, dean ATSU-ASDOH, professor


  • Annette Betteridge, MS, PA-C, assistant professor
  • Bobbi Catton, coordinator, PA curriculum
  • Jesse Thompson, BS, EMT, simulation education specialist
  • Linda Knutson, PA-C, MEd, adjunct faculty
  • Linda MacConnel, MSPA, MAEd, PA-C, associate professor
  • Sarah Walsh, PA-C, MS, assistant professor
  • Melinda Rawcliffe, PA-C, MPAS, adjunct professor
  • Ashley Purviance, MA, JD, manager, PA portal

From Office of Interprofessional Education and Collaboration

  • Barbara Maxwell, PT, PhD, DPT, FNAP, professor, university director of interprofessional education and collaboration.


  • Christine Morgan, EdD, assistant professor, research
  • Jeffrey Morgan, DO, FACOI, dean ATSU-SOMA, associate professor
  • Grace Stewart, MD, coordinator, admissions application

From HealthPoint

  • Jennifer Alexander, DDS, HealthPoint Dental, regional director of clinical care
  • Ruth Michaelis, MD, HealthPoint Medical, regional director of medical education WA campus, associate professor
  • Aline Swisshlem, HealthPoint Medical, regional education coordinator WA campus

From Sponsored Programs

  • Nora Alhaddad, MBA, BS, manager, sponsored programs, post-award project manager
  • Carrie Gaines, BS, director, sponsored programs, post-award compliance, and management

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer: This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D85HP20045; grant title Predoctoral Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene; total award amount of $1,736,074; with 54 percent financed with nongovernmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.