Q: Can you give me a brief history of the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital?
The Sinclair Dental Center was created through a $300,000 endowment from Colonel Samuels to build a space just so children could access dental care regardless of their ability to pay. At the time, the center had a social worker in-house who would check a patient’s eligibility and income, and you could pay 25 cents for your initial exam and then 5 cents a visit after that. If you could not afford that, you were given free care. We’ve had generations of patients come through here.
Then there was a big push nationwide to de-institutionalize the intellectually disabled population in the 1970s and 1980s. Locally, the Ladd School in Rhode Island closed, which was an institutional facility for special needs patients. Previously, they had received all of their treatment directly at those facilities — from haircuts to dental and medical appointments. When those patients were pushed into group home settings within the community, they needed places to go. We took them in, and that’s been our secondary mission here at the dental center. We probably treat approximately 90 to 95 percent of the intellectually disabled patients that are in group homes in the state.
How much do patients pay to receive care at the center now?
The majority of our patients do not pay out of pocket, and it’s mostly because most of these patients are on state aid and they have limited places to go. Adults special needs patients are pretty much only seen here.
Are there dental centers like this one everywhere?
The closest facility to ours is Tufts’ specialty care clinic, which has offices across the state of Massachusetts. But I still have patients that come here from group homes that are north of Boston, and a lot from Connecticut. It’s because what we do is not taught in dental schools or from textbooks.
What do you mean?
This is physical work. We do some medical stabilization for some patients. Our autism spectrum disorder patients tend to like the stabilization because they are the ones who usually like weighted blankets, and other tools like that. Patients with Down syndrome, on the other hand, tend to hate it. They don’t like when their personal space is being invaded. There are times where they are rocking and rolling in their chair, and you have to just move with them to get what you need to get done in their mouths — and do it really quickly.
Because of this, patients with special needs tend to need breaks during appointments, which makes these appointments five times longer than it would with a neurotypical patient. You have to have a whole different set of skills in order to have this job, not just go to dentistry school and call it a day.
This center and Delta Dental of Rhode Island are launching residency program, too.
We’ve had our general dentistry residency since about 2015. Historically we’ve taken two residents per year, and now we’ve started taking three. We’re only one of three special care dentistry sites in New England.
Delta Dental is helping us fund the launch of the state’s first Oral Surgery Residency Program, which will help us address the demand at both the local and national level. It’ll be a four-year Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery program that accepts two residents per year, and supports newly-related clinical [and other] positions at Rhode Island Hospital. We hope to get this up and running in the next two to three years.
Why is this new oral surgery residency so important?
In Rhode Island, we only have about 22 oral surgeons in the entire state of Rhode Island. None of them take Medicaid.
The number of people who are on public insurance in Rhode Island is staggering. What is your case load like?
We’ve seen increases in our visit volume every year by about 500 to 1,000 visits. And we’re handling that with the same amount of staff, but just working double and triple time to accommodate everyone. It’s really an access to care issue. If you have Medicaid as a child, you have a couple of other options in Rhode Island for places to go for dental care. As an adult, there’s hardly anywhere other than here [outside of some community health centers].
What is your end goal for this residency program?
My goal with our residency program we have here is to educate a new dentist coming out of dental school, give them the skills they need, and then have them take some of these patients to their private practice, wherever they practice. I don’t expect them to take the toughest patients, but going through a residency program here shows them that everyone can have dental care, it’s just a matter of how it’s performed, and what kinds of behavior modifications, time, and compassion you’re going to have to think about.
Why is it that so many private practice dentists do not take Medicaid?
Our Medicaid rates in Rhode Island increased slightly in July. Before that, our rates hadn’t been raised since 1991. There is no longer an overabundance of dentists in the state either, so now everyone is taking a few Medicaid patients to do their little part. A whole generation of dentists have retired, and taking in Medicaid patients isn’t keeping the lights on or allowing you to pay your staff by any means. It’s a money-losing endeavor.
Alexa Gagosz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.
Hopkins scores 24, Providence beats Rhode Island 84-69
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Bryce Hopkins’ 24 points helped Providence defeat Rhode Island 84-69 on Saturday night.
Hopkins also had seven rebounds for the Friars (7-1). Devin Carter scored 17 points and added 11 rebounds. Jayden Pierre shot 3 for 7 (1 for 3 from 3-point range) and 5 of 5 from the free throw line to finish with 12 points.
GoLocalProv | News | 5 Big Stories in Rhode Island This Week – December 2, 2023
EXCLUSIVE: Brown University Has Received Over $11M in Funding From Palestine
Brown University has received millions in funding from sources in “Palestinian Territories,” according to a review of federal data by GoLocal.
The United States Department of Education “requires institutions of higher education that receive Federal financial assistance to disclose semiannually to the U.S. Department of Education any gifts received from and contracts with a foreign source that, alone or combined, are valued at $250,000 or more in a calendar year.”
According to the “College Foreign Gift and Contract Report” — Brown University has received $11,692,251 from sources in “Palestinian Territories” over an indeterminate amount of time.
Federal records show that the biggest gifts include separate $2,000,000 donations — including one to “support an assistant professorship at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, with preference for Security Studies.”
In addition, records show two entries from “Palestinian Territories” of $643,000 which state “the purpose of the Fund is to provide support for a Professorship in Palestinian Studies within Middle East Studies.”
The professor who those gifts supported is Beshara B Doumani, the Mahmoud Darwish Professor of Palestinian Studies at Brown. He also simultaneously has served as the President of Birzeit University from 2021 to 2023, located in the Palestinian West Bank territory. His Brown University bio does not mention his role heading the Palestinian University, but his Birzeit bio features his role at Brown.
When Doumani was named to the Presidency at Birzeit, the American conservation publication the American Spectator wrote, “Palestine’s ‘Terrorist University’ Picks Ivy League Prof as New President.”
The Birzeit University was raided in September of 2023, and eight students were arrested by Israeli Defense Forces for suspected ties to a terror plot.
The Times of Israel reported in September, “The students, from Birzeit University near Ramallah, were nabbed following an investigation into Hamas cells in Palestinian educational institutions, the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet said. They were allegedly recruited by Hamas operatives in Gaza, receiving weaponry intended for the attack.”
Doumani was the featured speaker at the Brown University vigil on Tuesday — an event closed to the press.
According to the federal database, Brown reported gifts and contracts from countries including England, Spain, Thailand, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and more.
It did not report any donations from Israel to Brown.
Rhode Island vs Providence: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule
The stage is set for Saturday’s annual in-state rivalry meeting between the Rhode Island Rams and Providence College Friars.
TV schedule: Sunday, December 2, 7:30 p.m. EST FS1
Arena: Amica Mutual Pavillion in Providence, Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island and Providence College’s annual in-state rivalry is renewed for the 135th time on Saturday, with the Friars leading the series 76–58. The Friars have won nine of the last 11 meetings with the Rams, including their most recent game last season, where Providence was victorious 88–74 at the Ryan Center.
All five of PC’s starters finished in double figures, but the team was led by Bryce Hopkins, who posted 14 points and 15 rebounds. Clifton Moore and Jared Bynum each contributed 14 points, while Noah Locke had 13, and Devin Carter and Ed Croswell each had 10.
While Providence’s lineup is relatively similar to last season and is expected to continue its recent success against Rhode Island, this time, they’ll be led by a new face of the program. Kim English will make his Ocean State rivalry debut on Saturday. The former George Mason head coach took over the Friars this past offseason for Ed Cooley, who left the team for an opening at Georgetown.
While the Friars managed to retain seven players from last year’s roster, the program brought in several new faces, including three from George Mason who followed English to downtown Providence. However, the player to watch out for is returning junior forward Hopkins.
After his first year at Kentucky, Hopkins transferred to PC before last season. In his second year with the program this season, Hopkins is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and shooting 40.2 percent from the field. We can certainly expect another dominant performance out of him.
The Rhode Island Rams are 5-2 through the season’s first seven games. Still, now they will face the most formidable opponent of their non-conference schedule in the in-state rival Providence Friars, showing fans what to make of Rams in year two of the Archie Miller era.
Despite several players leaving the program this offseason, Coach Miller and his staff improved the roster, adding plenty of talent from the transfer portal and some key depth pieces that have adjusted to his style nicely, such as Luis Kortright, Jaden House, Tyson Brown, and David Fuchs. Still, the player to watch out for is Bradley transfer guard Zek Montgomery.
Montgomery leads the Rams in points, averaging 15.6 per game and shooting 54.9 percent from the field. The 6-foot-6 guard has scored in double figures in every game this season. He posted 14 points, nine rebounds, and two assists on 42.9 percent shooting in Rhody’s last game.
The Rams are coming off a 76-72 upset victory at home against the Yale Bulldogs. Rhody was down by as much as 18 at one point but came from behind in the second half to remain undefeated in the Ryan Center this season.
The Rams will look to carry that momentum with them on Saturday when they face PC. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rhody comes out of the gate with a lot of energy to keep it close throughout the first half. Still, their lack of experience as a younger team, combined with the home-court disadvantage, will get the best of them in the second half, allowing Providence to pull away within the final eight minutes.
While the Rams will make this Ocean State rivalry matchup a more competitive game than in their previous matchups with the Friars over the last few years, Providence’s roster is too good to be matched, and URI will run out of answers for them. Regardless, we can expect a great show from both programs, who are fighting for bragging rights of the Ocean State in front of a sold-out crowd in one of the most competitive atmospheres in all of college basketball.
Prediction: Providence 89, Rhode Island 77
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