09:00 AM

DentaQuest Funds Oral Health Externship Programs at Three Top Universities

Investments support community care programs at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Howard University and University of Washington School of Dentistry

DentaQuest today announced three significant investments to support a more diverse future for the nation’s oral health provider population.

DentaQuest recently awarded $30,000 in funds and resources to three university externship programs across the country. These programs help reduce the financial burden for students looking to gain oral health care delivery experience in community or free clinics, as well as to inspire youth from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in health professions.

“The pursuit of equity in health care is a key pillar of DentaQuest’s mission — and that pursuit has never been more meaningful,” said Steve Pollock, DentaQuest president and CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing inequities in our oral health system, which have hurt both patients and providers of color. We need to work to improve the system, to help change it, and we strongly believe programs like this that support students of color can help do just that.”

The lack of exposure to different types of dental professions perpetuates the cycle of racial and economic inequality within the oral health community, leaving students of color at a disadvantage when pursuing a career in dentistry. To address these opportunity gaps, DentaQuest has donated the funds to provide real-life care experience through community clinics. The donation is split evenly among these three university externship programs:

Howard University College of Dentistry

DentaQuest’s grant funds will offset expenses incurred by dental and dental hygiene students when participating in a voluntary 2021 community care externship at the Free Clinic of Virginia in Lynchburg and/or other similar sites in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Howard University is one of only two HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) with a dental college.

University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Galveston

Using DentaQuest’s grant, 10 externships will be available in 2021 to qualified students enrolled in UTMB Schools of Medicine, Health Professions or Nursing to gain oral health care experience on interprofessional teams at Saint Vincent’s Clinic, which is a cooperative partnership between UTMB and St. Vincent's House that provides free, quality health care to high-need populations of Galveston, Texas.

UTMB Galveston has graduated more minority physicians than any other school in the state and has been ranked as one of the top five medical schools for graduating Hispanics and one of the best for Hispanic students by Hispanic Business magazine.

University of Washington School of Dentistry (UWSOD) Office of Educational Partnerships and Diversity (OEPD)

This funding for a DentaQuest externship program at the UWSOD OEPD offers enrolled students in the elective Health and Homelessness course opportunities to respond to community oral health needs during the 2021 academic year. The program enhances student educational experiences through direct delivery of oral health and health care services in marginalized or underserved communities, including via teledentistry.

Additionally, students will participate in OEPD programming to empower youth from underrepresented communities in Washington State to pursue careers in the health professions.

DentaQuest will be announcing two more investments geared toward addressing racial disparities in the coming days. Visit DentaQuest’s corporate citizenship resource page for more information.

About DentaQuest

DentaQuest is a purpose-driven oral health care company dedicated to improving the oral health of all. We do this through Preventistry® – our all-in approach to better care, expanded access, value-based financing, and innovative solutions. We manage dental and vision benefits for 30+ million Americans and direct patient care through our network of more than 75 oral health centers in 6 states. We provide outcomes-based, cost-effective dental solutions for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses, and individuals nationwide. And, we've invested more than $230 million in grants, programs and other corporate citizenship efforts to achieve measurably healthier communities across the country. By advancing prevention-focused oral health, we will achieve better overall health for everyone. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.