$4 Million Contract to Expand Care in Rural Nebraska

Dentistry Today


Underserved patients in the Cornhusker State can look forward to better access to care as the Nebraska Oral Health Training and Services fund has awarded a $4 million, 10-year contract to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Dentistry to increase the number of dental graduates practicing in rural shortage areas and increase services there.

The school will work with existing and new partners to accomplish the following:

  • Address the oral health disparities in the state created by the shortage of dentists in rural areas;
  • Provide more access and dental services to underserved, uninsured, and at-risk populations in the state, including those who are on Medicaid or Medicare;
  • Expand the use of telehealth to deliver dental services.

“We are extremely appreciative of our ongoing partnerships across the state as well as new partnerships to help us provide the much needed oral healthcare to the citizens of Nebraska,” said Janet Guthmiller, DDS, PhD, dean of the UNMC College of Dentistry and principal investigator of the contract.  

UNMC graduates who commit to practice in any designated dental workforce shortage area in Nebraska for at least 5 years will be eligible to receive a shortage area scholarship, which will considerably lower or eliminate their dental college education debt. 

The funding also aims to increase the number of patients treated by faculty and students of the UNMC College of Dentistry with new or expanded services at its clinics in Lincoln, the Durham Outpatient Center, and the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center as well as ongoing and new partnerships across the state. 

A key factor to the work will include telehealth training and patient consultation, educational programming, and the use of new technologies offered through the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning at the Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning at UNMC.

 “This leap of technology will be a sustaining factor in maintaining a support system for dentists and oral health professionals in more isolated workforce shortage areas across the state,” said Guthmiller.

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