On July 20, Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) announced the creation of a new loan forgiveness program supported
by $500,000 in state funds available to dental students who commit to practice
in the region. The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and the
University of Louisville School of Dentistry will
administer the program, providing two to five awardees $100,000 each for a
two-year commitment. Specifically, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is funding the program, and the universities
will offer awardees a $50,000 up front payment and $50,000 at the end of the
first two-year award cycle.
“Reversing the oral health issues facing eastern Kentucky
has been a major goal of mine throughout my administration,” Gov. Beshear said. “The
vast majority of both childhood and adult dental problems could be avoided
through routine dental care and other preventive efforts. This unique program
and partnership will truly expand dental hygiene and help counter oral disease
as a major health risk for our people.”
to the Kentucky DPH, Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits, 45th in the
percentage of children with untreated dental decay and 47th in the percentage
of adults 65 and older missing six or more teeth.
 As part of his statewide health initiative, kyhealthnow, Gov.
Beshear identified oral health as one of the seven target areas for
improvement. Specifically, the program aims to reduce the percentage of
children with untreated dental decay by 25% and increase adult dental visits by
10% by the year 2019.