The UNC Adams School of Dentistry has been awarded a five-year grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for $975,000.
The grant, titled, “Recruitment and Retention of Dental Faculty to Promote and Ensure Oral Health Equity through Education of the Next Generation of Oral Care Health Providers,” will increase the recruitment and retention of dental and dental hygiene faculty through providing loan repayment, and ensure the success of faculty by providing mentoring and career development opportunities.
The program is designed to support up to four faculty each year with a minimum of 50 percent of their time dedicated to teaching dental and/or dental hygiene students; an expertise in pediatric, public health or general dentistry; and environmentally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Dental schools across the country are facing increased employee attrition through faculty retirement and decreased recruitment. At a time when educational debt is at its highest – the American Dental Education Association reported the averaged dental student debt at $296,000 in 2019 – the HRSA grant provides additional financial support and infrastructure needed for the Adams School of Dentistry to ensure the success of the programs, its faculty and its missions.
The program will be co-Directed by Associate Dean for Research, Discovery and Innovation, Shannon Wallet, PhD and Associate Dean for Professional Development and Faculty Affairs, Rebecca Wilder, RDH, MS.
They will be supported and complemented by a program oversite committee:
- Demeritt Distinguished Professor, Jessica Lee, DDS, PhD, Division of Pediatric and Public Health (chair)
- Rozier Douglass Distinguished Professor, Jane Weintraub DDS, MPH, Division of Pediatric and Public Health;
- Director of the Interprofessional Education and Practice, and the Graduate Dental Hygiene Education Program, Jennie Brame, EdD, MS, RDH
Founded in 1982, HRSA and the agencies that were precursors, have worked to improve the health of people in need since 1943. An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HRSA is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.