The National Health Service Corps: An Opportunity to Grow and Serve

James Younan, DMD, MPH, and Kia Moore, DMD, MPH


Ladysmith is a small town in rural Wisconsin that we are lucky to call home. The federal government accepted us into the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to serve at the Marshfield Dental Clinic in exchange for assistance with our student loans.

Ladysmith is one of the 383 Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in Wisconsin. Family Health Center-Ladysmith Dental Center, an affiliate of the Marshfield Clinic Health System, has an HPSA score of 26—the highest score a dental site can receive to designate the severity of the provider shortage in the area.

As members of the NHSC, we work to deliver high-quality care to the patients at Ladysmith Dental Center. Many of our patients travel far distances to receive dental care. A 2013 Pew Charitable Trust study found that almost 72% of children in the Wisconsin Medicaid program did not receive dental care in 2011. As healthcare providers, we are here to help improve access to care, increase dental education, and provide high quality care for our patients.

The NHSC Supports Personal Career Goals

While our service benefits the Ladysmith community, we also personally benefit from the program. The NHSC has helped us reach our career goals of serving a community in need and ultimately helping improve the country’s public health. Data, such as that found on the Oral Health page, links poor oral health to heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. 

Through our practice, we strive to increase our patients’ awareness of how dental health can affect overall health. Dentists understand the connection between a patient’s oral and physical health, but oftentimes our patients do not. As healthcare providers, it is our responsibility to not only provide quality care but to also educate our patients. 

Serving at the Marshfield Clinic has been an amazing experience. We are fortunate to have a great group of dentists and staff who have welcomed us and made our transition easy. We look forward to building our careers with Marshfield Clinic and carrying out our passion for helping those in need.

The NHSC Creates a Community of Service

In addition to loan repayment and career assistance, the NHSC offers us the opportunity to join a community of providers with the same goal of improving public health. The NHSC has more than 50,000 primary care providers with one thing in common: a passion for giving back. Currently, there are approximately 10,400 active members throughout the country providing culturally competent care to more than 11 million Americans. This community of providers is especially significant to us. 

We met as classmates at AT Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and it’s also where we discovered our shared passion for providing care to the underserved. We created a nonprofit organization called Entertainment Healers and worked together to host several charity events in efforts to give back to those in need. 

After graduating, we got married and worked closely with the NHSC to find a service site that suited our needs and allowed us to continue to work together. We are so honored to be members of the NHSC and to serve the community of Ladysmith. We are excited to work together to become community leaders and help create better access to health care. The NHSC and the Family Health Centers of Marshfield Clinic have given us the platform and support we need to do what we love, which is giving back to those in need.  

About the NHSC

We are both members of the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration’s NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program, which is accepting applications through October 26. Accepted medical and dental students in their fourth year of studies can receive up to $120,000 to pay back qualifying loans in return for three years of service in a high-need community.

In addition to oral health providers, primary care and mental and behavioral health providers may also be eligible for the NHSC Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs. Visit the NHSC website for more information. If you have a passion for helping others and making a difference in your community, apply! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Dr. Moore graduated from the University of Texas El Paso with a BS in biology. Later, she earned her DMD and MPH degrees at AT Still University Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health. Currently, she is working at a rural dental clinic in Northern Wisconsin. She and her husband are part of the National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program, where they live their dream of providing dental care to a population in need. She can be reached at

Dr. Younan graduated from the California State University at Fresno with a BS in biochemistry and from AT Still University Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health with DMD and MPH degrees. He is the founder and president of Entertainment Healers, a nonprofit organization that hosts entertainment events in efforts to raise funds that support the concepts of giving back and helping those in need. He and his wife also are National Health Service Corps Students to Service loan repayment recipients, serving a community in need in Northern Wisconsin. He can be reached at

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