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High-tech facility at Perimeter College Dunwoody Campus opens fall 2023
DUNWOODY, Ga.—Georgia State University administrators, students and community partners gathered Tuesday for the ceremonial groundbreaking of a $6.3 million dental hygiene clinic located at the university’s Perimeter College Campus in Dunwoody.
The 7,904 square-foot facility will house 20 operatories and give students in Perimeter’s Dental Hygiene program opportunities to train using advanced equipment and technology. The college’s existing clinic was built in the 1970s and has 20 smaller operatories that will go offline once the new clinic is complete.
An extra five dental stations, added during the pandemic, will become permanent and will give the program a total of 25 dental chairs from which to provide services available to Georgia State faculty, staff and students and the public.
Georgia State President M. Brian Blake celebrated the groundbreaking with about 100 university administrators, faculty, staff, students and community members.
“Estimates point to an increasing need for dental hygienists—especially with the national shortage spawned in part by retirements during the pandemic,” Blake said.
“Georgia State is pleased to play a critical role in addressing this demand by upgrading our clinic which amplifies our ability to educate and prepare students to enter the workforce and serve in these important positions, just after graduating with their associate degree.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national job outlook for dental hygiene employment is projected to grow nine percent from 2021-2031, faster than the average for all occupations.
Dr. Cynthia Lester, Perimeter College interim dean, expressed gratitude for the dental hygiene program and those who paved the way for a new clinic.
“As you might imagine, getting to today did not happen overnight or single-handedly,” she said.
“It took diligent advocacy and petitioning from countless individuals, including our dental hygiene program administrators, professors and students, as well as our university and system administrators—and even some of our friends and supporters at the Georgia State capitol and in the Dunwoody community.”
Services at Perimeter’s clinic include dental cleanings and sealants as well as oral exams, cancer screenings and X-rays. The new clinic is scheduled for completion in fall 2023 and will have a guest reception area, radiology and X-ray rooms and larger clinical operatories.
“We are the best kept secret and an excellent choice for someone who maybe doesn’t have insurance but wants exceptional dental care,” Dental Hygiene program director and associate professor Dr. Risa Handman said about the oral care Perimeter College students provide.
Since the program’s start in 1975, Perimeter graduates have consistently scored at or near a 100 percent, first-time pass rate on the national licensure exam—which Handman says makes them highly recruited for dental hygiene positions in metro Atlanta.
Call 770-274-5140 or visit the Perimeter College Dental Hygiene Clinic webpage for more information about services, fees and appointments.
Photo above (l to r): Dr. Cynthia Lester, interim dean, Georgia State University Perimeter College; Cade Joiner, regent, University System of Georgia; Dr. Bridget Blake, First Lady of Georgia State University; Dr. M. Brian Blake, president, Georgia State University; Dr. Risa Handman, director, Perimeter College dental hygiene program; Kimberly Kidd, student, dental hygiene program.