The coordinated dental care practice is helping lead the charge for the university’s 24-hour giving drive, during which Pacific hopes to collect gifts from 2,016 donors.
Willamette Dental Group’s primary connection to the university is through the Pacific University School of Dental Hygiene Studies, said CEO and co-founder Dr. Eugene Skourtes.
He visited the bachelor’s program, which is based on Pacific’s Hillsboro Campus, a few years ago and was impressed by how closely it aligned with the mission of his company.
Skourtes and a partner founded Willamette Dental Group in 1970 in an effort to redesign the model of dentistry and improve patient care. It was the first provider of coordinated dental care in the Pacific Northwest and now serves three states with dental care services, dental insurance, and business management and administrative services.
It’s a practice model that focuses on preventive care and rejects the traditional fee-for-service model.
Essentially, Skourtes said, that means it’s an organization that matches the interests of alumni of Pacific’s dental hygiene program and values the skills that Pacific alumni bring.
“We don’t have production goals,” Skourtes said. “Hygienists like to come to Willamette Dental because they don’t have to sell dentistry.”
Hygienists at Willamette Dental also work in teams, maximizing their scope of practice.
“We do get a lot of Pacific grads,” Skourtes said. “They go to hygienist school not to sell, but to educate and make people healthy. And we can do it because of our model.”
That’s a great fit for Pacific, where the dental hygiene curriculum focuses on interprofessional collaboration and caring for the underserved.
“Part of the curriculum is giving back to the community,” Skourtes said. “I thought that was cool. We in healthcare, we do have to give back.”
He added that he appreciates the way Pacific seeks out its students.
“I remember meeting a single mom who was working her way through school. Maybe her grades were not the greatest, but that didn’t stop (Pacific) from admitting her,” he said. “Medical and dental don’t always take into consideration if applicants have the personalities to maintain good patient relationships, and that’s important.”
Still, he said, Pacific’s is a rigorous curriculum, one that turns out highly skilled hygienists who he is happy to hire.
“I like that it’s a baccalaureate program, where they get their bachelors,” he said. That provides for an expanded scope of practice and more opportunities for the future.
Though Willamette Dental is mostly closely connected with the dental hygiene program, Skourtes said Pacific University as a whole is worthy of his company’s support. The same rigorous curriculum, community-mindedness, and value for the individual is found throughout Pacific’s comprehensive programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business, education, health professions and optometry.
That’s why Willamette Dental Group is sponsoring Boxer Giving Day 2016. Join them with a gift today, March 15, to support Pacific University!