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Loan repayment program looks to improve dental care in underserved areas
Updated: 1/12/2010 7:00:05 PM

Loan repayment program looks to improve dental care in underserved areas The difficulty of finding a dentist who will accept Medicaid in some areas, and the complete lack of oral health practitioners in others, has caused some health officials to share the worries of Americans without dental insurance or access to dental care.

In an effort to ensure that more individuals can avoid the dangerous health complications associated with poor oral hygiene, the California Dental Association (CDA) Foundation today announced the recipients of its chartable offering under the Dental Student Loan Repayment Grant Program.

The grants of $105,000 each are put toward defraying the student loans of recent graduates of dental schools who opt to work in an underserved community for at least three years.

California dentists Siri Ziese and Jose Torres were given the awards this year and will provide "care to California's most vulnerable patients" and "help their communities in ways that are immeasurable," said CDA Foundation executive director Jon Roth.

Because of significant debt, both dentists had considered practicing in more lucrative regions, but as Dr Ziese noted, "this grant is an amazing blessing and is having a huge impact on my life and in turn my community."

According to a 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 37 percent of Americans have not contacted a dentist in more than one year.

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