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Three Iowa Dentists Receive Loan Repayment Awards From FIND Project

Posted on March 3, 2021 in Foundation

Three Iowa dentists are the 2021 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 designated Iowa priority counties, and to devote at least 35 percent of their practice to individuals who disproportionately face barriers to access care. This includes children and adults enrolled in Medicaid, vulnerable older adults, people with disabilities, and other historically underserviced populations. 

Since Delta Dental began the Loan Repayment program in 2002, 55 private-practice dentists have participated in the Loan Repayment and FIND programs to provide 223,000 patient visits and more than 638,000 dental services to underserved Iowans.

“The FIND program is a collaborative effort with a specific mission that allows us to immediately impact the oral and overall health of some of Iowa’s most vulnerable populations,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “Across the state, this public-private partnership is making a positive difference in Iowa communities. Delta Dental is proud to support these three new dentists and help offset some of the startup costs of a new dental practice.”  

Initial investments in a dental practice are significant. The average new practice can require close to $475,000 for construction costs or remodeling of an existing facility, along with new equipment and technology. This is in addition to educational debt, which for most dentists averages more than $290,000.

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 a total of $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 2021 FIND award recipients include:

Dr. Kent Downing, Main Street Dental, Marshalltown - Dr. Downing is a 2015 graduate of Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Downers Grove, IL. Following graduation, he joined Hintz Family Dentistry, and in May 2016, became lead dentist at their Marshalltown location. In June 2020, Dr. Downing purchased that practice and the practice of a retiring dentist and established Main Street Dental. In addition to Iowa Area Development Group and Aureon, several local partners assisted with his award. This included Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Marshall County Dental Society, Northwestern Mutual, McFadden Insurance and a municipal utility.

Dr. Carolyn Duong, Gentle Family Dentists, Muscatine/West Liberty – Dr. Duong is a 2018 graduate of The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics. After graduation, she joined Gentle Family Dentists as an associate with Drs. Carol and Roberto Moreno. In January 2020, Dr. Duong became a partner in the practice and alternates her time between the Muscatine and West Liberty offices. Local utility companies, along with Iowa Area Development Group, Iowa Rural Development Council, McFadden Insurance, Bankers Trust, Hills Bank, Musco Lighting, and OK’s Discount Corporation provided community support for Dr. Duong’s award.

Dr. Annalee Fencl, Northeast Iowa Pediatric Dentistry, Decorah - Dr. Fencl graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics in 2013 and finished her pediatric residency there in 2015. Following graduation, she purchased a building in Decorah and started a new solo pediatric dental practice. With the closest pediatric dentist 60 miles away, Dr. Fencl serves Winneshiek County families and also a large number of children from surrounding counties. Primus Dental Construction, McFadden Insurance, and Honkamp Kruger, along with local banks provided support for her award. Iowa Area Development Group and rural utility companies also contributed toward community match.

FIND project partners include Delta Dental of Iowa and it’s Foundation, Iowa Area Development Group, Aureon, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, Iowa Department of Public Health, 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