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ABSTRACT. Purpose: Those who continue to be underserved nationally with regard to oral health care are minority groups (specifically Native American and Black), the elderly, rural residents, those who are poor, and those who are under/uninsured, or who are covered by Medicaid. Those in need of dental care are also the populations who more readily utilize community health centers (CHCs). CHCs provide health care to uninsured, underinsured, and disparate populations at a reduced-fee. This case study explored how CHCs in North Dakota provide dental care to disparate populations, while also identifying opportunities to close the access gap. Results: The four federally funded CHCs in North Dakota and their satellite sites were primarily located in the Eastern and Northern halves of the state, leaving a significant gap in eligible services. A majority of the counties designated as dental health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) did not have CHC services, and only one had a CHC that offered access to oral health care. The dental HPSAs were also all located in counties with rural designations. North Dakota has fewer CHC sites than neighboring states. Conclusions: Additional CHCs, or satellite locations, offering oral health services and more geographically dispersed in the state would provide greater access to care for North Dakota residents. There is a lack of State financial support for North Dakota CHCs compared to the national average, which exacerbates the access disparity. Many CHCs cite lack of funding as the barrier to geographic expansion and the ability to offer dental care. There is opportunity, if funding were available, to grow the dental workforce among existing CHCs that do not yet offer oral health services, and to encourage additional CHC sites in the South and Western regions of the State.

Keywords: dental; oral health; health center; access

How to cite: Schroeder, Shawnda, and Jun Lee (2017), “Community Health Centers Providing Dental Care to Disparate Populations in North Dakota,” American Journal of Medical Research 4(1): 50–60.

Received 9 September 2016 • Received in revised form 1 December 2016
Accepted 2 December 2016 • Available online 25 December 2016

doi:10.22381/AJMR4120174

SHAWNDA SCHROEDER
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Center for Rural Health,
School of Medicine and Health Sciences,
University of North Dakota
JUN LEE
Center for Rural Health,
School of Medicine and Health Sciences,
University of North Dakota

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