Montana State Considers Opening a Dental School

Montana State University in Bozeman is in the early stages of considering a dental school. According to articles in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the university’s Faculty Senate reviewed a proposal for the program in late 2017. It would run similarly to one called WWAMI, in which the University of Washington’s School of Medicine trains doctors in rural communities in Montana, Wyoming, Alaska and Idaho. In this case university instructors would work to train eight oral health practitioners every year, possibly through its highly successful Regional Initiatives in Dental Education program.

The Faculty Senate approved a working paper on the subject and sent it to the college’s Board of Regents. That group voted unanimously to accept the proposal at a January meeting. The next big question facing the university is how to fund the program. It hopes grants, donations and student tuition can cover part of the cost, but on-going funding from the state legislature will be necessary to make the program viable. A proposal for funding may go before the Montana Legislature in 2019 but must be weighed against other university system priorities.

The state currently offers few options for students interested in dental careers. Carroll College in Helena has a pre-dentistry program, and Great Falls College-Montana State University in Great Falls offers a dental hygiene program.