NEOMED’s first named college, the Dominic A. and Helen M. Bitonte College of Dentistry, was officially unveiled during a celebratory reception Thursday, Nov. 4, in the Jay A. Gershen Atrium.
Speaking to a crowd of nearly 200 faculty, staff, students and guests, President John Langell noted the need for more dentists and options for oral health care in Ohio. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of all Ohio counties are designated Dental Health Provider Shortage Areas, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Helping to fill that gap and meet the oral care needs of underserved populations aligns well with NEOMED’s mission.
“Our number one goal is to serve the health care needs of Ohio, especially Northeast Ohio,” said Dr. Langell.
“I can’t put into words how grateful we are to the Bitonte family,” said Phil Trueblood, chair of the NEOMED Board of Trustees.
State Senator Jerry Cirino and State Representative Gayle Pavliga, who were instrumental in securing $1 million in funding from the state for the College, also delivered congratulatory remarks.
Gary Bitonte, M.D., took the stage and shared some family history and personal anecdotes. He noted, “It’s a great day for NEOMED. It’s a great day for Northeast Ohio. It’s a great day for the art of dentistry everywhere.”
David Bitonte, D.O., M.B.A., M.P.H., followed up his brother’s remarks by thanking guests for coming and “the opportunity to honor our parents” with a named college.
During the event, Dr. Langell announced the appointment of an interim inaugural dean for the new College, Frank Beck, D.D.S., FAAHD, and associate dean for dental education and academic affairs, Kristin Z. Victoroff, D.D.S., Ph.D. (more information in a future Pulse)