Health Policy

Delta Dental Grant Awarded to Kuthy, Reynolds, and McKernan

Photo of Reynolds, Kathy, and McKernan

Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation awarded Drs. Raymond Kuthy, Susan McKernan, and Julie Reynolds (Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry) a one-year $40,000 grant entitled “20th Anniversary of the Iowa Dentist Tracking System (IDTS): Assessing Trends.”

IDTS is one of five health workforce tracking systems (physicians, dentists, pharmacists, advanced nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) within the Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs (OSCEP), Carver College of Medicine. IDTS updates information about all active dentists in Iowa semi-annually. This proactive statewide data collection system is the only one of its kind nationally. Besides tracking information about the individual’s entrance or exit from practice in Iowa, OSCEP’s semi-annual contact to each provider’s office updates possible practice changes, such as work arrangement (i.e., solo, group, corporate), gain or loss of associates, hours worked per week, etc.

2016 was the 20th anniversary of IDTS, making for a unique opportunity to complete a detailed longitudinal assessment, using a single comprehensive and consistent data source. The investigators will analyze these data and develop a comprehensive report for stakeholder planning purposes. Topics of particular interest include changes in the workforce’s gender composition, age distribution, hours worked, practice arrangements, and state retention of UI graduates. The research team will also assess trends in geographic variation in the dentist workforce, incorporating the location of physicians to explore for health professional ‘hot spots’ in Iowa. Population maps showing general population shifts during this time period will be overlaid with changes in health care provider location. Findings will inform policy to assist with recruitment and retention efforts, particularly in Iowa's rural areas.

Story credit: UI College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics