Rosa María Muñoz Aldape, BSDH ’15, DDS Candidate 2021, was selected by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to receive a NHSC scholarship. The NHSC scholarships provide educational funding for primary care providers who commit to serve a community in need upon their graduation and licensure.
Muñoz Aldape was specifically drawn to the NHSC for their focus on providing care for underserved communities. The NHSC’s goal of building healthy communities by supporting health care providers in areas with limited access to care, aligns with her own goals.
“Coming from an underserved community, giving back to my community is a driving factor in pursuing a career in dentistry,” said Muñoz Aldape. “It is my mission to fill in disparities in dental health by working in an undeserved area and ensuring patients have access to comprehensive dental care regardless of financial and language barriers. By providing dental services to these communities, I am not only able to help others maintain and improve their quality of life, but also impact their overall health and well-being.”
Scholarship winners pursuing a career in primary care commit to one-year of service per scholarship year, for a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years. Muñoz Aldape was awarded three years of funding and will provide three years of service.
Scholars practice at a NHSC-approved site in a health professional shortage area (HPSA). The sites range from rural health clinics, critical access hospitals, Indian Health Service clinics and other federally qualified health centers.
“Rosa is a special young woman who represents the best of the best,” said Jennifer Harmon, RDH, MS, assistant professor in the Department of Dental Ecology. “She has the perseverance, initiative, and intelligence to handle the remaining demands of dental school, and I can’t wait to watch her become a leader in dentistry. Her maturity, drive, positive attitude, and passion to be a dentist undoubtedly makes her an exceptional choice for the HRSA NHSC Scholarship.”
In 1972, the NHSC began as a way to strengthen the country’s primary care workforce. Their mission is to build healthy communities by supporting qualified health care providers dedicated to working in areas of the United States with limited access to care. More than 50,000 primary care medical, dental and mental and behavioral health professionals have served in the program since its inception.
By addressing the primary care shortage, the NHSC ensures healthcare access for everyone, regardless of ability to pay; prevents disease and illness; and cares for vulnerable individuals who may otherwise go without treatment.
There are approximately 10,900 NHSC members serving more than 11.4 million people at 5,000 NHSC-approved sites in urban, rural and frontier areas. Approximately 1,300 NHSC scholars are currently in school or residency. The NHSC works with nearly 500 oral health professionals in rural areas alone.