Pioneering Practice of Dental Therapy Gets A Boost at U of M with Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation Grant
Delta Dental of Minnesota

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January 18th, 2017



Pioneering Practice of Dental Therapy Gets A Boost at U of M with Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation Grant

$150,000 scholarship grant will help six dental therapy students committed to serving underserved patients to earn their degree

MINNEAPOLIS - Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation and the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry announced the 2017 recipients of a new scholarship program funded by Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, which supports students seeking degrees in the emerging practice of dental therapy. Funded with a $150,000 grant from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, the scholarship program will provide up to two years of significant support to six students completing the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene/Master of Dental Therapy dual degree program.

Dental therapists are professional members of a dental team who provide essential treatment and prevention services, with a focus on reaching patients who usually are unable to attain care. Dental therapists are primarily dedicated to serve rural, low-income, and other vulnerable and underserved populations. In 2009, Minnesota was the first state in the nation to pass legislation to authorize licensure of dental therapists as a member of the dental care team.

“We are happy to announce the recipients of these scholarships, and to support the expansion of the dental care workforce in Minnesota. Thousands of Minnesotans go without basic dental care. More dental therapists in our communities means more access to care for Minnesotans who simply can’t get it,” said Joe Lally, Executive Director of Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. “These recipients have demonstrated a commitment to underserved populations in Minnesota, and we are looking forward to their work to improve oral health in communities across the state.”

Crismon Joseph, one of the three 2017 recipients, originally immigrated from India where he worked as a dentist. He is a father who has spent several years serving children and underprivileged populations in Oklahoma.

"It is such an honor to receive this scholarship. I am excited at the opportunities available, as a dental therapist, to continue serving people in need. Dentistry is my passion and I look forward to helping others, in any way possible" Joseph said.

“The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry is thankful for Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation’s support of our dental therapy students who are dedicating their careers to improving access to care for underserved patients and communities,” said Dr. Karl Self, Director of the Division of Dental Therapy.

The 2017 recipients are:

  • Crismon Joseph, First year, Class of 2019
  • Jessica Hadler, First year, Class of 2019
  • Emily Reibert, First year, Class of 2019

About the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry:

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry advances health through scientific discovery innovative education, and the highest quality care for all communities. The School of Dentistry is the state’s only dental school, and the only dental school between Wisconsin and the Pacific Northwest. The School educates general dentists and dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental scientists and dental educators.

About Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation:

In 2009, Delta Dental of Minnesota’s parent sold a company and used 100 percent of the proceeds to establish and fund Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation supports Delta Dental of Minnesota’s mission of improving the health of Minnesotans through oral health. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation works to expand access to dental care for Minnesota’s underserved populations across the state by primarily investing in programs and organizations that provide dental care to people in need. Since 2011, the foundation has invested more than $21 million in grants to nearly 70 programs and organizations that provide care and promote oral health.