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A peer-reviewed journal that offers evidence-based clinical information and continuing education for dentists.

University of Utah Strives to Attract Oral Health Professionals to High-Need Areas

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The state of Utah faces a paradoxical challenge in dental care despite having a high number of dentists per capita. Eighteen out of 29 counties in Utah are designated as dental health professional shortage areas, with 35 high-needs clinics desperately requiring oral health providers. This maldistribution disproportionately affects rural, Tribal, and minority communities, resulting in poorer health outcomes due to limited access. The University of Utah School of Dentistry is addressing this issue through an admissions program called Public and Rural Expansive Conditional Acceptance Program (PRE-CAP). The program focuses on recruiting and training students from high-needs communities, intending to increase access to care as these dentists return to practice in their hometowns. The program identifies potential candidates from the traditional dental school admissions cycle, offering conditional acceptance to three students contingent upon completing the PRE-CAP curriculum. Students receive financial support, mentorship, and a 1-year curriculum emphasizing social determinants of health. The program encourages interprofessional collaboration, fostering a collaborative approach to address structural barriers impacting oral health. Inspired by a successful program in the School of Medicine, PRE-CAP represents an innovative initiative reshaping dental care in Utah. Click here to read more.

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