This study examines the health impact of a proposed dental school in
Southwest Virginia. In setting the stage for an evaluation of the dental school
impacts, this study first assesses the economic, social, and health context for
the Southwest Virginia region. It also presents a summary of research regarding
the causes of differences in oral health, demand and supply for dental care
services, the uneven geographical distribution of the health care workforce,
and the regional labor market consequences of expanding area training and educational
opportunities. The study provides a descriptive analysis of national, state,
and regional oral health needs as well as pertinent national, state, and
regional dental care resources and analyzes gaps in the existing and future
provision of regional dental services. It assesses how a new dental school
could affect the availability of dentists, utilization levels of dental
services, and quality of care. Lastly, it discusses alternative policies and programs,
including variants of the dental school model, for improving access to dental
care and oral health outcomes in the Southwest Virginia region.

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Staff Authors
Terance J. Rephann
William M. Shobe
Tanya Wanchek