Dental coalition urges Senate committee to address key issues to alleviate workforce shortages

A coalition of dental organizations urged the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to address challenges contributing to workforce shortages in the dental industry.

The coalition asked in a March 20 letter for the committee to support increases in funding for the Oral Health Workforce Development Program, which helps train oral health professionals and improves access to oral healthcare. The increased funding would help dentists fill vacant dental hygienist and assistant positions, the coalition said.

The committee was also asked to support several student loan bills and initiatives that would increase diversity in the dental workforce, such as funding and supporting programs for various educational levels in underserved and diverse communities to attract people to enter the dental field. The coalition also asked the committee to support initiatives that would draw dentists to underserved areas, including tax relief and small business grants. 

Additionally, the coalition noted that the way health professional shortage areas are defined is outdated, stating that using a revised algorithm would help assure that resources are appropriately allocated to each community. 

The coalition is made up of several dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association and the American Student Dental Association.

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