PORTLAND — Northeast Delta Dental has contributed $2.3 million to help the University of New England establish its planned College of Dental Medicine, the university announced today.
Northeast Delta Dental is the largest provider of dental benefits in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

UNE plans to establish Maine’s first dental college to help address a lack of access to dental health care and a need for more oral health professionals across the state.

Northeast Delta Dental shares those goals, said Tom Raffio, its president and CEO.

“Good oral health and access to oral health care are two significant public health concerns,” Raffio said. “Northeast Delta Dental is proud to provide this leadership gift in support of the UNE College of Dental Medicine.”  

Dental care is the most prevalent unmet health care need in Maine, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. All 16 counties in Maine have dental health professional shortages.

The dental college will emphasize community dentistry, dental public health and prevention, excellence in clinical dentistry, an integrated health care approach to dental education, and population-based health research.

“This substantial and incredibly generous gift from Northeast Delta Dental provides a huge boost to our effort to make the UNE College of Dental Medicine a reality,” said Harley Knowles, UNE vice president for institutional advancement.