Presentation Blocks: 03-22-2018 - Thursday - 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Title: Associations Between County General Dentist Workforce and Business Establishments


Joshua Hones (Presenter)
University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics

Susan McKernan, University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics
Raymond Kuthy, University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics


Objectives: Background: Recruiting dentists to practice in rural areas has proven difficult. Previous research has examined loan repayment, size of the community where dentist grew up, family factors, dental school attended, age and gender as factors impacting community choice. Little research has examined attraction of certain business establishments for dentists.

Objective: The objective of this project was to evaluate whether various business establishment sectors demonstrated significant associations with general dentist-to-population ratios at the county level (N=99) in Iowa.

Methods: Two data sets from 2015 were drawn from for this study: county business establishment data from the Iowa State Data Center and general dentist workforce data from the Iowa Dentist Tracking System. For this analysis, we considered business sectors if they were present in all counties and would be meaningful for dentists when choosing a community. Descriptive statistics were calculated at the state and county levels, with choropleth maps created to display results. Chi-square tests and Kendall’s tau-b correlation coefficients were used for bivariate comparisons. Significance levels of p<.05 were used for all hypothesis testing.

Results: In 2015, there were 1205 general dentists in Iowa. Of the 10 business sectors examined, the most common industries in Iowa were retail trade (21% of business establishments), other services (16%), and health care and social assistance (15%). Across all sectors, total establishments per county ranged from 113-12,294 (median = 411). Bivariate correlations found that professional, scientific & technical services and accommodations & food services sectors were the most strongly associated with dentist supply.

Conclusions: In Iowa, the presence of business establishments from several sectors was associated with dentist-to-population ratios at the county level. Future studies can use this information to survey dentists about preferences for community choice.