U.S. grants fund oral health workforce training

Oral health workforce training is among six areas to benefit from $130.8 million in grants announced September 17 by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The grants are designed to strengthen and expand the health professions workforce in all U.S. states, according to the HHS.

Of the grant money, $23.9 million is earmarked for workforce development programs for pre- and postdoctoral training for dental residents; dental faculty; loan repayment for faculty who teach primary care dentistry; and training for practicing dentists or other approved dental trainees in general, pediatric, and public health dentistry and dental hygiene programs.

The oral health workforce funding also includes $4.3 million to states to provide nine new grantees the opportunity to address their states' unique oral health workforce needs in underserved urban and rural areas. Grants are designed to strengthen the delivery of multidisciplinary comprehensive oral healthcare, integral to quality primary care.

The other five areas to receive funding under these grants are primary care workforce training, equipment to enhance training across the health professions, loan repayments for health professionals, health careers opportunity programs for disadvantaged students, and patient navigator outreach and chronic disease prevention in health disparity populations.

The grants include $88.7 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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