Daemen Seeks to Open Dental College

By | April 5, 2022

President Olson announcing the proposed dental college, with Todd and Leslie Shatkin at left

Daemen University has entered the advanced stages of seeking accreditation for what could become only the second institution of higher learning in the region offering a doctorate in dentistry – the proposed Shatkin College of Dentistry. 

 The news was announced at an on-campus press conference Monday. 

Daemen hopes to open the new college in the fall of 2023, if accreditation is granted by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

“Western New York has a clear and ongoing need for more dental professionals,” said Gary Olson, president of Daemen University. “If accredited and approved, our college of dentistry will help address this shortage, provide additional access to health care, and improve the oral and overall health of citizens in the region.”

The announcement was praised by the editorial board of The Buffalo News, which wrote of plans for the dental college: “The result will not only increase opportunities for those interested in an in-demand medical field but help strengthen the growing health safety net around Western New York.”

A fitting addition

The college’s namesake, Todd Shatkin, will provide facilities for the college in Amherst, as well as equipment and expertise in creating the new college of dentistry.

“This will be the culmination of a number of years of a dream come true,” Shatkin said, to attendees in Rosary Hall. “We hope to bring the same world-renowned reputation to the dental school program that is enjoyed by the other health sciences programs at Daemen.”

President Olson added, “It’s fitting that Daemen University would have a college of dentistry because we’re known as Western New York’s premiere health sciences educator,” he said. “This really will be the next step for Daemen, and a logical one at that.”

Daemen would join the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine as the only programs of their kind in the region, if approved.

“We would be a complement to [UB],” added Olson. 

Plans call for the college to accept 40 students per year and carry an enrollment of 120 students in the three-year program. 

From left: Provost Brogan, Supervisor Kulpa, Board Chair John Yurtchuk, President Olson, Todd and Leslie Shatkin

Instead of the traditional four academic years common in most dental programs, Daemen’s college would be year-round for three years. Students would then complete their New York State-mandated residencies for licensure at dental facilities around the state.

“We are seeking to create a unique educational experience for students,” said Shatkin. “Students will be treated like colleagues from the first day forward.”

He added, “Dental students trained in supportive and comfortable environments are going to know the value of creating positive experiences for their patients.”

Along the Amherst Medical Spine

In late 2021, Daemen filed a comprehensive application for accreditation with the Chicago-based CODA, and recently applied for formal approval from NYSED. To support the state application, an external reviewer visited campus this winter.

At the proposed dental college, students would matriculate at both Daemen’s Amherst campus and at new facilities constructed near Shatkin’s existing suite of offices near the intersection of the I-290 and Main Street, on Kensington Avenue. 

“Daemen plays an important part and role in the Town of Amherst and our future,” said Brian Kulpa, supervisor of the Town of Amherst, at the press conference. “It’s a proud day here.”

Clinical dentistry will also be available to the public at reduced rates at the proposed new dental college – but would not be available until the program’s second year, if approved.

The proposed dental college comes on the heels of Daemen achieving university status in March, as the institution celebrates its 75th anniversary.