Grants will be awarded to organizations promoting the growth of a diverse dental workforce and access
to care in rural and minority communities


COLUMBIA, SC. (April 13, 2023) … To address the urgent need for minority representation in dental health professions and access to dental care in rural and minority communities, Delta Dental of South Carolina – a leading dental benefits provider and non-profit organization – is allocating $500,000 to a new Workforce Development Grant Program in South Carolina and in Missouri, where it also does business. Organizations with innovative programs that expose, prepare, promote, or progress high school or college students and/or working age adults from underrepresented racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds to career paths in dental health professions are encouraged to apply.

The goal of the grant program is to address three key dental workforce challenges:

• lack of access to care in low-income and rural communities designated as Dental Health Professional shortage areas;

• the decline in the dental workforce which raises concerns about the adequacy to address oral health care needs statewide, and

• lack of diversity in the dental workforce and access to care in minority communities.

The funding aims to support students pursuing a dental health profession, including dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants with a focus on underrepresented minority communities and individuals living in a rural, Dental Health Professional shortage area.

“A report from the Oral Health Workforce Research Center found that improving racial and ethnic diversity among the nation’s dental health professionals is crucial in efforts to reduce the disparity in access to care and health outcomes and to better address the oral health needs of an increasingly diverse population,” said Rob Goren, president and chief executive officer at Delta Dental of South Carolina. “We hope our targeted investments will inspire students of all ages to pursue a career in oral health to help address these issues.”

This new grant funding initiative augments Delta Dental of South Carolina’s existing Dental Student Loan Repayment Program for dentists in South Carolina and Missouri, through which it has been working to address dental care provider shortages by encouraging dentists to treat patients in an underserved area for loan repayment assistance. Since 2018, the company has provided $400,000 to help participating dentists in both states repay their student loans.

Delta Dental of South Carolina invites applications for the new grant program from eligible 501c3 charities, academic institutions, governmental bodies, and career centers in South Carolina or Missouri. The deadline to apply is July 3, 2023. Visit for additional information and details on how to apply.

The new grant initiative is being launched as part of a broader national commitment by the Delta Dental Institute, through which additional funding will be available.

About Delta Dental of South Carolina

Delta Dental of South Carolina is a trade name of Delta Dental of Missouri, a dental benefits provider and a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, which operates in South Carolina under that name. It provides more than 330,000 members in South Carolina with access to affordable, high-quality dental care through group plans tailored to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes, from large corporations to small businesses with two or more employees. Delta Dental also offers dental benefit plans directly to individuals and families. It also provides access to affordable, high-quality vision care through group vision benefit plans. The company proudly supports oral health initiatives, educational programs and charitable causes that help educate people about the importance of dental health and provide free dental care to those in need. It also created the South Carolina Dental Care Resource Guide to help individuals access information about low-cost and free dental care options in their area—available online at learn more about the company, visit