State considers payment of Dental Education
by University of Wyoming
January 3, 2007
The state's Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Interim Committee will sponsor legislation in the coming legislative session to address a shortage of dentists in Wyoming.
Up to 10 Wyoming residents per year could have their costs for attending dental school paid by the state of Wyoming under the pending legislation.
The Dental Student Loan Repayment Program legislation, as introduced, would establish an account, beginning with an appropriation of $500,000, to pay the cost of dental education incurred by Wyoming residents who agree to practice in the state for three years after completing their dental education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC, Lincoln) or Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska).
The legislation was developed in conjunction with the Wyoming Dental Association, the dental schools at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University, and the University of Wyoming.
"The UNMC College of Dentistry has a longstanding relationship with the University of Wyoming for recruitment of dental students," says Dr. John Reinhardt, Dean of the UNMC College of Dentistry. "This contract is exactly the kind of partnership that needs to be forged."
"Creighton welcomes the opportunity to assist in advancing Wyoming's dental workforce through this legislation," says Dr. Steven W. Friedrichsen, Dean of the Creighton School of Dentistry.
Under the legislation, students or their parents or guardians must have been residents of Wyoming for at least five years prior to certification of eligibility for the program by UW. A student who enrolls in dental school under this program must have agreed to practice within the state of Wyoming for three years or to reimburse the state for dental education costs, with interest, within five years after agreeing to enter the program.
"The Wyoming Dental Association is very enthusiastic about this legislation," says association President Dr. Rod Hill. "This legislation provides Wyoming the opportunity to offer our young adults employment options in their home state as well as financial assistance through a new Dental Student Loan Repayment Program."
If approved by the legislature and UW Board of Trustees, eligible students could enter this dental program as early as fall 2007.
University of Wyoming, www.uwyo.edu