Providing Dentists In Rural Regions

Ensuring residents of rural areas have access to health care is an enormous challenge in our state. A new program at West Virginia University may help.

Studies involving the well-being of children often rank West Virginia well down the list of states concerning dental health. That is despite efforts by many dentists to provide low-cost or even free care for children who need it.

But in areas where few or no dentists can be found, both children and adults have to rely on long trips or traveling clinics for care.

WVU’s program will use federal money to provide incentives to dentistry students to practice in the state after they graduate. Students can receive as much as $50,000 to help defray the cost of medical school if they agree to practice for at least two years in “areas of great need.”

Unfortunately, the program will be open to no more than five students a year – but it is a start in ensuring dental care is available in rural areas.

Many graduates of health care training programs leave school with enormous debts. One cannot blame them for wanting to locate in urban areas where they can begin earning good money quickly. WVU officials are to be commended for establishing a program that should provide some idealistic young students an incentive to go where they are needed badly.