Skip to main content
Toggle Menu of ADA WebSites
ADA Websites
Partnerships and Commissions
Toggle Search Area
Toggle Menu
e-mail Print Share

FQHCs and Dental Student Loan Repayment

An FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) is part of the dental safety net — these centers serve locations or populations with limited access to care. They may be located in urban or rural areas. An FQHC is often an integrated medical facility, where a patient has a single chart encompassing all care, including medical, dental and behavioral health.

Some dentists work full-time at a FQHC, while others devote part of their schedules to working for one of these centers. “It makes sense for new dentists to consider FQHCs, whether you are recently graduated from dental school or you already have years of practice under your belt,” notes Dr. Rex Yanase thirteenth district representative to the ADA New Dentist Committee, and non-voting ex officio member of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations. “In addition to providing a piece of the access-to-care puzzle, working for an FQHC can provide loan repayment opportunities.”

Loan repayment is available for a combined commitment that includes both a minimum number of 20 hours per week, and a minimum number of years of service. For more information, see here.

Many health centers are highly competitive and your experience can make a difference when multiple candidates are vying for limited opportunities. To locate an FQHC opportunity, first visit the National Health Services Corps website http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/ and choose the jobs center link.

In addition to narrowing your search to dentistry positions, you’ll see that opportunities are identified by a HPSA score. HPSA (say “Hip-suh”) designates Health Professional Shortage Area. The HPSA score usually is associated with a specific geographic location, but FQHCs do have a HPSA score simply due to their designation as an FQHC. The higher the HPSA score, the greater the challenges of access to care in this area. For dentistry, a HPSA score can range from 0-26. Note that there are three different varieties of HPSA scores, which are primary care (medical), dental and behavioral health.

The HPSA number matters if you plan to apply for loan repayment funds. HPSA scores allow governments to prioritize distribution of funding, and these funds are often directed towards the areas of greatest need, which is to say the highest HPSA score.

The contract for employment with an FQHC is negotiated separately from the contract for loan repayment. For FQHCs, you can’t apply for loan repayment without having first contracted for employment.

The National Health Services Corps website offers a loan repayment estimate calculator where you can propose numerous variables, including full-time or part-time employment, years-of-commitment, and whether the HPSA score is above or below fourteen. There are also descriptions of state and community loan repayment options.

New Dentist Now Blog

Sharing your dental office space
Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:02:41 +0000 There are many reasons why a dentist may decide to share their office space. For a practice owner, sharing office space may offer additional income [...]
Applicants sought for 2018-19 ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership
Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:46:28 +0000 The American Dental Association Institute for Diversity in Leadership is accepting applications through March 16 for its 2018-19 class. The Institute is designed to provide [...]
Let go and live with less control
Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:02:13 +0000 We all hang on to ideas, emotions and memories that sometimes deserve to be let go. In this article, I discuss learning about a major [...]
Facebook calls to action: Are you using honey or vinegar?
Mon, 08 Jan 2018 14:42:13 +0000 It takes a matter of seconds to realize that someone is selling to you. In person, you may get that vibe from someone and instantly [...]
Find Give Kids A Smile events in your area
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 16:58:06 +0000 The ADA Foundation’s toll-free number for its Give Kids A Smile program helps caregivers and volunteers determine whether there is a GKAS event in their [...]
Manage debt so it doesn’t manage you
Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:23:59 +0000 Personal and practice financial management is a vital part of building a successful career in dentistry – and allowing you to lead the life you [...]
New CDT 2018 codes now in effect
Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:16:33 +0000 It’s time to begin using the 18 new codes featured in CDT 2018: Dental Procedure Codes, the essential coding manual for dental professionals. This new [...]
Practice Successfully, Live Well: Ergonomic advice to reduce work-related pain
Thu, 28 Dec 2017 15:05:11 +0000 Dentistry is a physically demanding profession. Dentists often assume awkward positions to provide treatment to their patients. This leaves them at high risk of developing [...]
Medicare resources for dentists
Tue, 26 Dec 2017 14:30:39 +0000 Figuring out whether to opt in or out of Medicare can be confusing for some dentists. The ADA has resources to help dentists make the [...]
Keeping dental practices electronically secure
Thu, 21 Dec 2017 15:02:01 +0000 Remaining compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act can be an arduous but necessary task for dentists. The ADA has resources for dentists [...]