Access to care: Leveraging dental education

Charles N. Bertolami, Robert Berne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


If it is not a naïve expectation for dentists who have been beneficiaries of public generosity to share their good fortune with the public that made it possible, there may be a rational basis for enhancing the role of dental education in improving access to oral health care by promoting-but not requiring-a voluntary service commitment after graduation commensurate with the magnitude of the subsidy received. Such an approach would be in accordance with the Institute of Medicine's report Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations, but without the governmental coercion explicit in the report. A sustainable alternative proposal is made here, offering both greater options to students in the financing of their dental education and greater obligations for those students who accept state subsidies: providing tuition discounts for students of state-supported dental schools based not on past residency status but rather on a future commitment to public service. This arrangement could be good public policy that might also help to create a culture in which dental students are given authentic options as part of a profession-wide ideology of public service. The result could well contribute to improved oral health care for the underserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1481-1488
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Access to oral health care
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Dental education
  • Dental education finances
  • Dental school tuition
  • Dental students
  • Economics of dental education
  • Student debt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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