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Kentucky dental partnership grant announced

August 19, 2014

By Craig Palmer

Photo of Morehead State leaders
Kentucky dental partnership: Government, academic leaders join U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., center, in announcing continuation grant for Appalachian Rural Dental Education Partnership Program. From left, Rep. Rocky Adams, majority floor leader Kentucky Legislature; Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson; Earl Gohl, Appalachian Regional Commission co-chair; Morehead State University President Wayne D. Andrews and Tony Wilder, commissioner of the Department for Local Government. Morehead State University photo.
Morehead, Ky. – U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., joined federal, state and local officials Aug. 6 in announcing a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to Morehead State University to continue the Appalachian Rural Dental Education Partnership Program with the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry.

“This program promotes the growth of dental careers in eastern Kentucky and extends outreach into our schools to raise awareness about good oral health,” the congressman said during a symposium focused on health care needs.

“We believe this is the first comprehensive oral health campaign designed for a university campus in the nation,” said Dr. Raynor Mullins of the UK College of Dentistry Center for Oral Health Research. “We have a huge opportunity in Kentucky’s ARC region to innovate and to also lead the nation with children’s oral health care reform.”

Morehead State and the University of Kentucky, through the College of Dentistry, partnered in 2011 to create the program with funding from the ARC, a regional economic development agency, and the universities. The partnership’s main goals as described in a news release posted at are to:

  • design and implement an educational program to increase the number of practicing dentists in Appalachia through enhanced training, recruitment and educational assistance;
  • provide a campus-based student oral health awareness program, and
  • create a pipeline of potential students interested in dental education from the ARC counties.

“This will help the third step of the program for high school and college students to become dentists,” said Earl Gohl, ARC co-chair. “Morehead State and UK have worked well together on the first two goals. We think it’s a great investment of federal funds that will have returns for eastern Kentucky.”

Counties served by the program include Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.