Four Iowa Dentists Awarded Loan Repayment Awards from FIND Project
Four Iowa dentists are the 2020 recipients of educational loan repayment awards from the Fulfilling Iowa’s Need for Dentists (FIND) project, a collaborative public-private partnership. This program engages dentists to establish dental practices in Iowa counties that are designated as high priority, and to devote at least 35 percent of their practice to underserved populations, such as Medicaid-enrolled, disabled, and elderly persons.
2020 is the 50th anniversary of Delta Dental of Iowa. Since Delta Dental began the Loan Repayment program in 2002, 52 private-practice dentists have participated in the Loan Repayment and FIND programs to provide 203,000 patient visits and more than 588,000 dental services to underserved Iowans.
“Delta Dental and our public-private partners are proud to have provided this funding to more than 50 Iowa dentists since 2002. Access to dental care for all Iowans increases with each FIND award,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “This commitment to practicing in underserved areas not only improves the oral and overall health of their patients, these dentists are also contributing to the economic health of their communities.”
Initial investments in a dental practice are significant. On average, dentists invest more than $300,000 in new equipment and technology, some building a practice from the ground up including new construction or remodeling an existing facility. Educational debt for most dentists averages more than $280,000.
The FIND project award recipients will each receive up to $100,000 in loan repayment funds in return for a five-year commitment. This includes $75,000 from Delta Dental of Iowa and the State of Iowa and a community match of at least $5,000, with an option for local organizations to contribute an additional $20,000.
The 2020 FIND award recipients include:
- Dr. Ames Cross, Stuart Family Dental, Stuart - Dr. Cross is a 2014 graduate of The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics. Following graduation, he worked in two dental practices in central Iowa, and in 2017, Dr. Cross purchased Stuart Family Dental. Several local partners assisted with his award, including the Stuart Enterprise for Economic Development, the Stuart Chamber of Commerce, Wagner Investment, and municipal utilities.
- Dr. Sarah Gingrich, Pipho & Gingrich Family Dentistry, Dysart - Dr. Gingrich graduated from The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics in 2007. She worked in large group practices in Minneapolis until 2016, when she moved back to Iowa to purchase a practice in Dysart and become a partner in Pipho & Gingrich Family Dentistry. Local utility companies and businesses provided community match for Dr. Gingrich’s award.
- Dr. Kristi Ouderkirk-Bock, Broadway Dental, Denison - Dr. Ouderkirk-Bock completed her dental education at The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics in 2011 and moved to Denison to join the Broadway Dental Group. The Chamber and Development Council of Crawford County and a rural utility company provided key support for her award.
- Dr. Alexander Walls, Walls Family Dentistry, Missouri Valley - Dr. Walls graduated from A.T. Still University – Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health in 2017 and joined his father at Walls Family Dentistry in Missouri Valley. As a result of adverse circumstances from extreme flooding in western Iowa, Delta Dental of Iowa assisted with Dr. Walls match and also contributed $5,000 to the Missouri Valley Fire Department to assist with future flood recovery.
The FIND project recruits dentists to practice in underserved Iowa counties by helping them with their dental education debt. FIND partners include the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, Iowa Area Development Group, Aureon, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, as well as numerous local organizations.
The Loan Repayment Program is a component of Delta Dental of Iowa’s Public Benefit program that invests in projects that support and improve the oral health of Iowans. For more information, visit www.iowafindproject.com.