Six Rhode Island dental professionals will receive a total of $150,000 to help pay off their educational costs under a new oral health loan forgiveness program established collaboratively by The Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH), and the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority.
The Rhode Island Dental Educational Loan Repayment Program was created to ensure a stable and adequate supply of oral health care professionals to meet the needs of all Rhode Islanders. Administered by the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, loan repayments are awarded in exchange for service commitments by oral health professionals newly recruited to the state or to existing professionals providing care in safety net sites across Rhode Island. Dental safety net providers provide oral health care services regardless of patients’ insurance status or ability to pay.
In exchange for a two-year commitment, recipients are eligible for funds up to $25,000 annually for dentists and $10,000 annually for dental hygienists. Applicants may include licensed dentists (DMDs or DDSs) and dental hygienists who work in general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, and oral surgery.
“This program is a collaborative effort aimed at strengthening the dental workforce in Rhode Island,” said Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of The Rhode Island Foundation. “With programs like this in place, we can better serve the needs of underserved populations and help ensure that people of all ages and backgrounds have access to quality dental care services, which are a critical component to good health.”
“The dental safety net is a critical access point for many Rhode Island residents. Unfortunately, educational loans can sometimes impede oral health providers’ abilities to dedicate their careers to working with the underserved,” said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. “By alleviating a portion of their educational debt, this program provides a mechanism to recruit and retain qualified oral health providers for patients in greatest need.”
Loan repayments have been awarded to six oral health professionals practicing at Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, Pawtucket; CCAP Family Dental Centers, Cranston; WellOne Primary Medical and Dental, North Kingstown; CCAP Dental Services, Warwick; and St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island Dental Center, Providence.
The Rhode Island Foundation is also part of a coalition that established a loan forgiveness program for primary health care physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners that practice in the fields of family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics. Since 2009, the Rhode Island Primary Care Educational Loan Repayment program has attracted 15 physicians, three physician assistants, and two nurse practitioners serving Rhode Island.
Other RestrictionsMust be a US citizen eligible for state licensure; have not outstanding federal, state or local service obligations; be available to work full-time at the site, agree to accept assignment under Medicare and Medicaid.
This funding opportunity requires applicants to hold U.S. Citizenship.
Office of Primary Care, Rhode Island Department of Health
State of Rhode Island, Private Org and Federal Government
3 Capitol Hill, Room 408
Providence, RI 295097