Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Samuels Sinclair Dental Center launch new residency program

PROVIDENCE – Delta Dental of Rhode Island and the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital are collaborating to launch the state’s first Oral Residency Program.

The initiative is meant to address both local and national levels of demand to expand the number of practicing oral surgeons. Once established, the Delta Dental Oral Surgery Clinic and Rhode Island Hospital Oral Surgery Residency Program will be a four-year Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery program. Two residents per year will be accepted and it will help support multiple new, full-time clinical, administrative and programmatic positions at the hospital, according to a news release.

The program is in its planning stages and is expected to be running within the next three years. Also, the program is one of three residency programs in New England with a focus on special care dentistry and will be an addition to the center’s Joseph S. Sinclair General Practice Residency Program, which launched in 2006 and accepts three residents a year, according to a news release.

“As the health system at large continues to face a national workforce shortage, we as an industry here in Rhode Island need to make bold investments and create opportunities to strengthen our state’s oral health talent pipeline,” said Joseph R. Perroni, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Rhode Island. “The Samuels Sinclair Dental Center is an ideal learning environment. We are proud to support this important work and we look forward to welcoming residents of this new program to the workforce.”

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The new residency program will be funded through a grant from Delta Dental of Rhode Island representing the largest grant the insurer has made to the hospital’s Samuels Sinclair Dental Center. The grant will also help fund the purchase of new equipment for the center.

“We thank Delta Dental of Rhode Island for, not only their tremendous financial support, but also their unwavering commitment to strengthening our state’s oral health field,” said Dr. Elizabeth Benz, director of the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center and a graduate of its general practice residency program. “We know an individual’s oral health plays a critical role in their overall well-being, and we are confident that the future residents who gain hands-on, clinical experience through this program will be well prepared to provide vital, potentially life-saving care to our neighbors across the state.”

The Samuels Sinclair Dental Center opened in 1931 with funding from Colonel Joseph Samuels to help ensure children whose parents could not afford to pay could receive high quality dental care. It then expanded to also deliver dental services to intellectually or developmentally disabled patients of all ages and is one of the only in the country to provide comprehensive and multidisciplinary dental care in a hospital setting, according to a news release.

Each year the center provides care for more than 18,500 patient visits and handles more than 2,500 hospital inpatient and emergency department cases annually. The center also provides treatment clearance for the head and neck oncology division of the Lifespan Cancer Institute, as well as various Rhode Island Hospital clinics such as transplant, hematology, and cardiology/cardiothoracic surgery, according to a news release.

Katie Castellani is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at

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