The program developed to fill a need for dentists in Kansas. There are areas of Kansas which are called “Dental Deserts” which do not have a dentist close to them. In order to fill this need, the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation along with the partners listed below, decided to help Kansas Grow Your Own Dentist. The program introduces high school students to career opportunities in the dental field and offers hands-on experience to give insight into dental careers.
Junior Achievement of Wichita - The program introduces high school students to career opportunities in the dental field and offers hands-on experience to give insight into those careers. Junior Achievement Careers with a Purpose is a seven session course, classroom-based, work-readiness program and is recommended for high school students in grades 9-12. In addition to providing students with information about specific career paths, the program activities include:
The Ellis Foundation- The Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation partnered with The Ellis Foundation, located in Fort Scott, KS, to provide scholarships to promising high school students with aspirations of entering the dental field. The Ellis Foundation's mission is to provide high school graduates, who have limited resources, access to higher education.
Through this partnership, The Ellis Foundation provides education support to prepare capable students to become America's future leaders. By mining high schools across the state, specifically targeting underserved areas and working with high school counselors, students who have a commitment to dentistry are identified. They must have the ability to compete academically and have loyalty to an underserved area of the state. They foster an interest in dentistry among the brightest students. To date six, $8,000 Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation scholarships have been awarded.
Butler Community College - Educational materials and support scholarships are provided to students to enroll in a new program that integrates oral health education into their Early Collage Health Sciences Academy program curriculum. The ECHSA program is comprised of students working towards a career in health sciences. This project aims to cultivate an interest in oral health careers amongst ECHSA students, while building a foundation of knowledge regarding oral health.
Kansas Initiative for New Dentists - A total of $550,000 has been contributed by the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation to the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation, the Kansas Dental Association's (KDA) giving arm, to assist in funding the Kansas Initiative for New Dentists (KIND) program. The KIND program focuses on bringing dental care to sparsely populated areas of Kansas. The program, which designates areas of the state as "dental deserts," offers loan repayments and grants to attract dentists to these key areas. In addition to providing financial support for these future dentists, the KIND program works with local communities to determine other opportunities for support to make recruitment efforts successful.
"The KDA is pleased with our partnership with the Foundation on the KIND program as we work hand-in-hand in encouraging new dentists to practice in Kansas and ultimately help solve dental access issues in rural Kansas," said Kevin Robertson, Executive Director, KDA.
The Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation plans to bring their contribution total to one million dollars in 2014.