Schools address dental workforce challenges: 7 updates

Several schools have added or are considering new dental programs to address workforce challenges, such as provider shortages and diversity.

Seven recent updates from schools adding or considering the addition of dental programs:

  1. Pomona, Calif.-based Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine received a five-year, $1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to increase faculty diversity. The grant will be used to recruit and retain full-time dental faculty from diverse communities with experience in general, pediatric or public health dentistry.
  2. Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., opened a 12,000-square-foot dental clinic housing new dental programs to meet workforce and clinical demand. The school will train dental assistants and hygienists, and its students will offer local residents low-cost preventive services.
  3. South Jordan, Utah-based Roseman University College of Dental Medicine received approval to shorten its doctor of dental medicine program from a four-year curriculum to a three-year curriculum and increase its class size from 100 to 120 students. The moves allow the school to train more students for the industry and to reduce school debt.
  4. Rootstown-based Northeast Ohio Medical University is considering adding a dental school in an effort to bring more dentists to the state. The school could be opened using $2 million allocated to the school in the state's two-year budget, but the university would need to submit plans for the dental school to the state before it could accept the funds.
  5. Atlanta-based Georgia School of Orthodontics began training its largest class of residents in August after being approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation to double its enrollment in 2020. The school also plans to expand its clinical locations to accommodate more residents, staff, faculty and patients.
  6. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry was awarded a five-year, $975,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to support the recruitment and retention of faculty. The funds will be used to create a program that will increase dental and dental hygiene faculty at the school by providing loan repayment, mentoring and career development opportunities.
  7. Tanner, Ala.-based Calhoun Community College began the first semester of its new dental hygienist program, established to meet high demand for the position. The program came with the opening of a $1 million lab featuring 10 operatory areas. The college received accreditation for the program Aug. 13. More than 50 people applied for the program, but the college had a 14-student enrollment limit.

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