Clinical Dental Education Innovations

The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund supports innovative clinical training for dental professionals and programs that increase access to dental care for underserved populations through grant funding. The Commissioner of Health awards the grants on a competitive basis to qualified applicants.

Eligible applicants for these grants include sponsoring institutions, training sites or consortia that provide clinical education to dental professionals: dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists and/or dental assistants. Applicants must be affiliated with a training program that is accredited by an organization that meets MERC accreditation requirements as described in Minnesota Statutes 62J.692, and training sites must have a currently valid Medicaid Identification Number at the time of application and throughout the term of the grant. 

Application/Award Process

The Clinical Dental Education Innovations Fund operates on an annual funding cycle, with a Request for Proposal (RFP) posted in spring and proposals selected roughly two months later. A review committee, consisting of experts on the dental workforce and on broader health policy issues along with representatives of the dental professions, reviews all qualifying proposals and makes recommendations to the Commissioner of Health for grant awards. 

FY2015 Program

Past Grant Awards

Grantee organizations work to expand dental access around the state, working with communities that have faced multiple barriers to dental access, including language, cultural and financial or insurance barriers. This table summarizes awards. 

Year Grantee Project Summary
FY14 Open Door Health Center Expand dental clinic space, plan new student rotations, promote delivery of services and evaluate the activities.
FY14 Community Dental Care Continue clinical students training for seven schools with dental training programs.
FY14 Apple Tree Dental Apply dental students to promote oral health for vulnerable populations, train for new services and assessments, collect data and evaluate the activities.
FY14 Children's Dental Services Increase dental therapy/advanced dental therapy training, train mid-level providers in Stearns and St. Louis counties, start a school based clinic in Minneapolis, and create a clinical manual for dental therapists.
FY14 Hennepin County Medical Center Collaborate with Metropolitan State University in training dental therapy students, train dental students in coordinated care initiatives.
FY14 U of M - CUHCC Work with dental/pedodontic residents to provide dental care to low income patients.
FY14 U of M Increase number of dental therapists and new patients served by them, evaluate the activities.
FY14 Walker Methodist Health Center Expand comprehensive geriatric dental care clinic and expand training opportunities.
FY13 Open Door Health Center Purchase equipment and provide professional dental supervisory services to enhance dental hygiene student clinical training.
FY13 Community Dental Care Collaborate with Century College on pilot program for nursing students integrating oral health training. Expand oral health student dental training program for immigrant and underserved populations.
FY13 Apple Tree Dental Partnership for dental access and oral student training with Metropolitan State and Minnesota State Community & Technical College.
FY13 Children's Dental Expand Tele-Dentistry in rural Minnesota; establish programs for oral health services for autism/deafness/hearing impairment individuals; increase services to homeless youth, pregnant women and minority populations; establish a rural intern network; and expand the provision of restorative functions.
FY13 HCMC Dentistry Clinic Support pediatric and oral surgery training through the development of a Dental Therapist Program which will integrate dental therapy students, dental therapists, dental residents and dental faculty in a collaborative team as part of an integrated training program. This training program will be offered in cooperation with Metropolitan State University.
FY13 HCMC Dentistry Clinic Support training for the operation of the General Practice Dental Residency Program, a training program to be undertaken through the purchase of appropriate equipment and the procurement of endodontist and periodonist instructional consultant services.
FY13 Southside Community Health Services Enhance oral surgery services to low-income households through the provision of oral surgeon services, the purchase of appropriate equipment and dental supplies.
FY13 U of M-Community University Health Care Center Provide training opportunities for pedodontic residents, endodontic residents, dental hygiene, senior dental and dental therapy students in cooperation with the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and Argosy University.
FY13 Open Cities Health Center Expand oral health preventative care and regular maintenance to underserved populations.
FY13 Century College Offer dental services to underserved populations, including the student body, and develop a joint curriculum with the nursing and translating programs.
FY12 Apple Tree Dental Increase access to dental care through rotations and internships for dental hygiene and dental therapy students to meet the needs of the underserved and low income households, especially the disabled and the elderly, in West-Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities.
FY12 Children's Dental Services Continue dental student internship program, expand dental services and initiate dental hygienist training in restorative functions program, develop a program for meth abusers and GLBT youth.
FY12 Community Dental Care Expand student training program while providing dental care to immigrant populations with low incomes.
FY12 Northern Dental Access Center establish one operatories in order to provide clinical training for dental hygiene students in cooperation with Northwest Technical College.
FY12 Open Cities Health Center Provide clinical training for pediatric dental assistants and hygienist students and increase the level of service to low-income/uninsured adults.
FY12 Open Door Health Center Purchase equipment for a school-based dental project staffed by dental hygienists. Purchase accessibility-equipped treatment room to provide in-house oral health services to patients with physical disabilities.
FY12 Rice Memorial Fund dental therapy program students at the Rice Memorial Hospital Dental Clinic (Willmar) and the North American Community Dental Clinic (Minneapolis) in cooperation with the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. This will facilitate the clinical dental education experience for second-year dental therapy students while increasing the level of oral services available to underserved populations.
FY12 University of Minnesota Community University Health Care Expand pediodonic resident, dental student, dental hygiene and dental therapy student clinical training while increasing access to oral health care and treatment for patients with low incomes.
FY11 Apple Tree Dental Increase access to dental care in west central Minnesota through rotations and internships for dental hygiene students to serve populations with low incomes.
FY11 Children's Dental Services Provide dental care to low-income, uninsured and under-insured children/pregnant women in the Twin Cities, Duluth, St. Cloud and Iron Range and provide clinical training opportunities for dental hygiene and dental interns/residents.
FY11 Community Dental Care Expand clinical training program for oral health professional students to increase care to immigrant populations with low incomes.
FY11 Hennepin Healthcare Systems Provide hospital-based training for general practice dental students and advanced practice general dentistry residents to serve people with low incomes, disabilities and complex medical problems.
FY11 Open Cities Health Center Provide culturally specific clinical training for pediatric dental assistants and hygienists students (purchase pediatric dental equipment and supplies, and pay for training staff salaries).
FY11 Southside Community Health Services Replace an older dental outreach van to facilitate training opportunities for dental assisting and dental hygiene students providing care to geriatric populations in long-term care facilities.
FY11 University of Minnesota/Community-University Health Fund dental assisting and hygiene student placements in a multi-disciplinary clinical setting for training, and for providing services to children, refugees, immigrants and vulnerable adults in the Minneapolis Phillips Neighborhood.
FY10 Apple Tree Dental, Inc. Establish rotations and internships for dental hygiene and assisting students in west central Minnesota to provide oral health services in accessible locations, including community-based settings, to populations with low incomes (one-year funding).
FY10 Children's Dental Services

Dental care to children/pregnant women in the Twin Cities and Duluth who are low income, uninsured and under-insured. Will provide clinical training opportunities for dental hygiene and dental interns/residents (one-year funding).

FY10 Community Dental Care Provide dental care to low income and immigrant populations while serving as a valuable training resource for oral health students.
FY10 Hennepin Healthcare Systems Expand hospital-based training and curriculum for general practice dental students. Will serve low-income populations with low incomes, the disabled, those with complex medical problems, and special needs. Serves as a training site for dental students and advanced practice general dentistry residents. Will offer coordinated care with other HCMC medical services (one-year funding).
FY10 Hennepin Healthcare Systems Fund start-up costs for an expanded pediatric dental clinic. Will serve needs of low-income and special needs children and as a training site for residents in family medicine, pediatrics and dentistry (two-year funding).
FY10 University of MN/CUHCC Fund dental and dental hygiene student placements in a multidisciplinary clinical setting for training and continued dental services to targeted population of children, refugees, immigrants, and vulnerable adults in Minneapolis Phillips Neighborhood (one-year funding).

Contact for more information

Darwin Flores Trujillo
651-201-3850

Updated Friday, February 28, 2014 at 12:21PM