Rural Health Dental Scholars Program

Dental Professional Student Rotations in Rural Louisiana

The Rural Health Dental Scholars Program encourages dental health professional students to practice in Louisiana’s health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) by building partnerships between rural and underserved healthcare facilities and colleges and universities. Each fiscal year, five students, one to two years away from graduating, will be selected to participate in a short-term rotation to gain experience in a rural dental healthcare setting.

The mission of the program is to alleviate and ultimately overcome the substantial lack of dental health professionals by placing clinicians in Louisiana’s underserved rural areas.

Participating Dental Health Professional Students

Dental health students within one to two years of completing their respective program have the unique opportunity to experience practicing in a dental facility in a HPSA through the Rural Health Dental Scholars Program. Participants will learn from rural dental healthcare professionals during their rotation. This exposure could help with a future career in rural healthcare, and participants will be offered assistance with job placement if applicable.

Each participating student will receive $2,000, and each dental scholar host site will receive $1,000. Well-Ahead Louisiana assists participants with registration to 3RNet and permanent job placement post-graduation. Scholars who complete the program successfully will qualify to apply for the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). 

Eligible disciplines include general and pediatric dentistry (DDS/DMD) and registered dental hygienist (RDH). Depending on healthcare facility needs and the number of applicants, Well-Ahead Louisiana will place students with a rural dental healthcare facility located in a HPSA for rotation.

Responsibilities of Participating Students

  • Complete a 180-hour (minimum) clinical rotation at the assigned dental healthcare facility.
  • Work closely with the assigned preceptor to develop a work plan including a rotation schedule.
  • Complete an online training that will detail health disparities, discuss health equity, and provide information on chronic disease prevention efforts in rural Louisiana.
  • Submit an essay detailing their experience in the healthcare facility.
  • Participate in a post-rotation survey.
  • Complete a service report that outlines hours worked.
  • Create a profile and upload a current CV in 3RNet.

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