Vermont college dental therapy program stuck in limbo after 7 years

Seven years after initially creating plans to establish a dental therapy program, Vermont State University has been unable to fulfill the plans, according to a Sept. 25 report by vtdigger.

An investigation from a Vermont state auditor revealed that even with seven years and nearly $2.7 million in public funding, the school has not been able to launch the program. 

The main factors in the failure to launch include a lack of administrative support, competing interests from inside the school, the reorganization of the Vermont State College System, key staff turnover and the COVID-19 pandemic, the auditor's report said. 

The program, which had started planning in 2016 after the Vermont Legislature created legal framework for dental therapy practitioners, was supposed to be the first dental therapy program in the Northeastern U.S.

The school never applied for accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. An administrator from the university said it still has plans to apply for accreditation and hopes to recruit students for the program by 2027, the report said.

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