News
 
Health Policy

Reynolds awarded two grants for dental hygiene workforce study

dental hygienist working on patient

Dr. Julie Reynolds, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry and PPC Health Policy researcher, was awarded two grants to examine the capacity of the dental hygiene workforce in Iowa. The study will collect information about employment rates, number of hours worked, and overall contribution to public health. The goal of the research is to support initiatives that would expand the capacity of the current dental hygiene workforce to improve access to preventive dental services, particularly among vulnerable populations that tend to have lower rates of access to preventive dental care.

Dr. Reynolds said, “This project builds upon our previous work that indicated that we may be underutilizing the dental hygiene workforce in Iowa. With this project we hope to be able to determine whether that is actually the case statewide, to examine geographic variation in dental hygiene workforce supply, and to examine potential opportunities to maximize the capacity of the existing dental hygiene workforce such as expanded use of public health supervision of dental hygienists or teledentistry.”

The one-year project received two separate awards for a total of $90,000 — one from the Telligen Community Initiative for $50,000 and the other from Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation for $40,000. Dr. Susan McKernan and Dr. Ray Kuthy, both in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry and PPC Health Policy researchers, will also participate in the study. 

To read more about the study, visit the project page here.