Coordinating and Improving Oral Health Workforce Activities in Iowa

This multi-year project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) State Oral Health Workforce Program. Our goal is to improve statewide efforts to recruit and retain dental providers to underserved communities in Iowa. Building off of a previous HRSA grant, we are focusing our efforts in four main areas:

1.     Developing activities of the Office of Iowa Practice Opportunities (OIPO), located within the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, that foster collaboration with state stakeholders in order to facilitate the goal of dentist recruitment in dental shortage areas in Iowa.

2.     Coordinating and expanding the Iowa State Loan Repayment Program for dental providers and facilitate other state dental recruitment and retention programs.

3.     Conducting workforce monitoring of dental providers in Iowa, including longitudinal trends and geographic relationships with other primary health care providers.

4.     Defining dental service areas in Iowa based on patient utilization patterns in order to identify geographic barriers to care for vulnerable populations.

As part of this project, we have developed an interactive map on the University of Iowa College of Dentistry website for dental providers who are either seeking employment or seeking to hire a new dentist. Click here to visit the site.

We are also working with the Iowa Department of Public Health on activity 2. Currently, two dentists who are working at Federally Qualified Health Centers participate in a loan repayment program.

We have joined an existing workgroup of stakeholders working to improve monitoring for the dental hygiene workforce in Iowa. In collaboration with this workgroup, we have compiled existing data sources into a comprehensive report about Iowa’s dental hygiene workforce, including recommendations for future workforce monitoring.  Click here for report.

Preliminary results for activities 3-4 have been presented to the following groups: Advisory Council for the Office of Health Care Transformation, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Primary Care Association, National Oral Health Conference.