Iowa Dentist Receives Loan Repayment Award from FIND Project to Provide Care for Underserviced Populations in Polk County
Dr. Daniel Binkowski, a Polk County dentist who also practices in multiple locations throughout Iowa, has been selected as the 2023 recipient of an educational loan repayment award from Fulfilling Iowa’s Need for Dentists (FIND), a collaborative public-private partnership.
The FIND program helps dentists establish dental practices in designated Iowa priority counties where access to dental care is limited. Recipients must devote a percentage of their practice to individuals who disproportionately face barriers to access care such as those enrolled in Medicaid, older adults, and other historically underserviced populations.
Since Delta Dental of Iowa began the loan repayment program in 2002, 57 private-practice dentists have been awarded. These dentists have provided 326,000 patient visits and more than 878,000 dental services to underserved Iowans in priority counties.
“It is important that Iowans have access to quality dental care, no matter where they live in the state,” said Suzanne Heckenlaible, Vice President, Public Affairs of Delta Dental of Iowa. “The FIND program is an effort to recruit and retain dentists in communities where there is need. Our participation in this program is driven by a mission to improve the health and wellness of all Iowans. We look forward to seeing the contributions made by Dr. Binkowski as he provides dental services to those in need.”
Dr. Binkowski will receive $125,000 in loan repayment funds in return for a five-year commitment to serve patients in his practice communities. This includes a total of $120,000 from Delta Dental of Iowa and the State of Iowa as well as a community match of $5,000. Community match funding for Dr. Binkowski’s award was provided by Iowa Area Development Group, Ripple Effect/Aureon, South Slope Communications, and Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin Squires.
Dr. Binkowski graduated from Creighton University School of Dentistry in 2011 and completed an Advanced Education General Dentistry Certificate Program in 2012. After serving in the Air Force from 2011-2015, he worked as a general dentist in Ankeny before opening his first practice in Story City in 2017. Noticing a significant gap in patient access to tooth extraction services, Dr. Binkowski began to shift his focus to providing these specialty services and opened his first of three Iowa Wisdom Teeth practices in 2020.
Initial investments in a dental practice are significant and the FIND project can help dentists to establish their practices. The average new practice can require $500,000 for the construction or remodeling of an existing facility, along with new equipment and technology purchases. This is in addition to educational debt, which for most dentists averages close to $300,000.
FIND project partners include Delta Dental of Iowa and the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, Iowa Area Development Group, Aureon, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, Iowa Dental Association, 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 Community Impact program that invests in projects that strengthen and transform the health and smiles of all Iowans. For more information, visit www.iowafindproject.com.