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Four Iowa Dentists Awarded Loan Repayment Awards from FIND Project

Posted on June 3, 2019 in Foundation


Four Iowa dentists are the 2019 recipients of up to $100,000 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 communities, while devoting at least 35 percent of their practice to underserved populations such as Medicaid, very young children, and elderly. Eighty-nine of Iowa’s 99 counties are designated as high priority areas for Delta Dental of Iowa’s Loan Repayment Program.

“Access to dental care for all Iowans increases with each FIND award,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “Dentists practicing in rural communities improve their patients’ oral health, and they also improve the overall physical and economic health of the communities in which they serve.” 

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 $240,000.

The FIND project award recipients will each receive a minimum of $80,000 in loan repayment funds from Delta Dental of Iowa, the State of Iowa and local community funds in return for a five-year commitment. The award includes community contributions of at least $5,000, with an option for local organizations to contribute an additional $20,000 toward loan repayment.

The 2019 FIND award recipients include:

Dr. Bryn Johnson-Ealy

Dr. Bryn Johnson-Ealy

Iowa River Dentistry Iowa Falls

Dr. Johnson-Ealy is a 2018 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, and received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Simpson College. A combination of over 20 community organizations assisted with Dr. Johnson-Ealy’s award. 

Dr. Kali Kircher

Dr. Kali Kircher

Kircher Family Dental, Keokuk

Dr. Kircher is a 2018 graduate of A. T. Still University – Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health and also holds a Certificate in Public Health. Dr. Kircher is the first of several dentists being recruited to the area by the Keokuk Dental Recruitment Task Force, and the Keokuk Economic Development Corporation assisted with her award.  

Dr. Michael Hemming

Dr. Michael Hemming

Central Park Dentistry, Charles City

Dr. Hemming is a 2017 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Western Illinois University. Multiple local organizations assisted with Dr. Hemming’s award.

Dr. Matthew Merideth

Dr. Matthew Merideth

Louscher Family Dental, Emmetsburg/Algona

Dr. Merideth is a 2018 graduate of the University of New England College of Dental Medicine, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa. The Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation and Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative assisted with Dr. Merideth’s award.

FIND project partners include Delta Dental of Iowa, 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 FIND project recruits dentists to practice in underserved Iowa counties by helping them with their dental education debt. 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