OU College of Dentistry Announces Director for New Tulsa Clinic
Published: Monday, October 25, 2021
The University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry has named Chalmers Rieger Wood III, D.D.S., to direct its new clinical operation in Tulsa.
The expansion of the College of Dentistry’s educational programs and clinical services in Tulsa was approved last week by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The new dental clinic will be housed within the OU Health Physicians Schusterman Center Clinic building on the OU-Tulsa campus, with construction of a 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art dental clinic beginning soon.
An OU College of Dentistry faculty member since 2006, Wood was named clinical assistant professor in 2014 and currently serves as a group practice director in the Division of Comprehensive Care. Wood also served on the college’s COVID-19 Task Force, COVID-19 Re-engagement Committee, and strategic workgroups engaged in the planning and implementation of the forthcoming dental program expansion in Tulsa.
Wood earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the OU College of Dentistry in 1981. That same year, he established a private dental practice in Tulsa, which he still owns and operates to this day. Wood also completed the Advanced Education in General Education residency program at the College of Dentistry in 2015.
“I am very grateful to have been selected to lead the expansion of the College of Dentistry in Tulsa,” said Wood. “As a native of Tulsa, it is especially gratifying to bring the high-quality dental services we provide at the College to northeastern Oklahoma. I am also excited to welcome the students who will live and learn here, and integrate them into the Tulsa community.”
Service to the community and to the dental profession is important to Wood. He served as chair of the first Oklahoma Mission of Mercy (OkMOM), a free dental clinic offering treatment to patients that are uninsured, under-insured or would normally not have access to dental care. Additionally, he is past president of the Oklahoma Dental Association and Tulsa County Dental Society. His numerous honors and awards include the Pierre Fauchard Academy Distinguished Dentist Citation, the Oklahoma Dental Association President’s Leadership Award and Thomas Jefferson Citizenship Award. He currently serves American’s Dentists Care Foundation as president of its board of directors.
“I have every confidence in the leadership Dr. Wood will provide as the College of Dentistry enters a new geographic area and a new era of dental education and practice,” said Paul M. Mullasseril, D.D.S., dean of the OU College of Dentistry. “The Tulsa expansion helps our college fulfill one of its primary roles in improving the health of the community and surrounding area by bringing dental services, at substantially reduced fees, into an area of our state with under-served oral health needs.”
Under Wood’s direction, the new clinic in Tulsa will provide comprehensive oral healthcare services to patients of all ages and is expected to open in June 2022. Care will be provided by third- and fourth-year dental students, under the supervision of Wood and other licensed dental faculty members. The clinic is the first of several OU College of Dentistry clinical extensions anticipated throughout the state.
Oklahoma ranks 49th in the nation for access to affordable dental care – a statistic that served as the genesis of the college’s expansion. Over the last five years, the OU College of Dentistry has provided dental and emergency care to more than 285,000 patients. Nearly one-quarter of those patients travel from the northeastern part of the state to receive care at the college, located on the OU Health Sciences Center campus in Oklahoma City. The College of Dentistry also fulfills a substantial portion of the oral healthcare needs of uninsured or underinsured patients, many of whom live in counties in northeastern Oklahoma and do not have access to dental care within a 30-mile radius.
“We are excited to welcome the OU College of Dentistry to our OU-Tulsa campus,” said James J. Sluss Jr., interim president of OU-Tulsa. “Being able to offer dental services alongside the medical services we already provide through OU Health Physicians in Tulsa will greatly benefit our patients and community.”