Towards building the oral health care workforce: Who are the new dental therapists?

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9 Scopus citations


In 2009, Minnesota Governor Pawlenty signed into law a bill approving the creation of a new dental team member: the dental therapist. The intent of this legislation was to address oral health disparities by creating a dental professional who would expand access to dental care in Minnesota. This study aimed to describe the characteristics of the first class of dental therapy students at the University of Minnesota and to ascertain the values and motivations that led them to choose a career in dental therapy. Four surveys were used to create the composite profile of the ten students in this first dental therapy class: 1) the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, 2) the Learning Type Measure, 3) the Attitudes Toward Healthcare Survey, and 4) a values and motivation survey that included demographic data. The results of the surveys revealed interacting influences of the students' background, personal self-concept, and environment leading to a career decision to pursue dental therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Access to care
  • Dental education
  • Dental therapist
  • Dental therapy
  • Midlevel dental provider
  • Oral health care access
  • Oral health care workforce

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