Federal grant helps dental school grads provide care for underserved in Alabama

A federal grant is helping recent dental school graduates pay down their loans in exchange for treating Medicaid patients in some of the most underserved parts of Alabama, according to Action for Dental Health.

Action for Dental HealthThe program is a collaborative effort between the Alabama Dental Association and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, which received the three-year federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2013, according to Dr. Allen Conan Davis, who serves as a principal in managing the grant and is the assistant dean for community collaborations and public health at the dental school.

“The school of dentistry and the association have had a great relationship, because we’ve had a mutual interest in addressing access to care issues,” said Dr. Davis. “I think that relationship helped us secure the HRSA grant.”

A total of nine dental graduates – three each year – receive $100,000 apiece to pay down loans if they devote 30 percent of their practices to Medicaid patients and agree to stay in their communities for at least four years.

Six graduates were placed in dentally underserved areas in Alabama by the end of 2014, said Dr. Davis. Three more are expected to take part in the program this year.

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Action for Dental Health, launched by the ADA, is a nationwide, community-based movement aimed at ending dental health crisis facing America today. To learn more, click here.

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