Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Oral Biology

Degree Program

Oral Biology, MS

Committee Chair

Babbage, Sherry

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Leslie, Katie

Committee Member

Leslie, Katie

Committee Member

Jones, Faye

Committee Member

Gunaratnam, Bakeerathan

Author's Keywords

underserved; pipleline; Kentucky; dental


Introduction: The Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) is a health careers pipeline program for Kentucky pre-health students from Health Professional Shortage Area counties and/or racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in the health professions. The purpose of this study was to determine the demographics of the dental PEPP participants and if, post dental school graduation, they were providing care for underserved patient populations Methods: PEPP dental graduates (n=114) had been previously identified. Participants were contacted by phone, asked to participate and then mailed a survey. Survey questions covered personal, practice and patient characteristics, procedures performed, insurance accepted and community outreach. Logistic regression analysis was utilized to assess relationships between multiple variables. Additionally, data was compared to American Dental Association (ADA), American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and census data. Results: Forty-four participants responded. Thirty-four had complete datasets. Approximately 62 percent of PEPP participants reported serving underserved populations. PEPP participant data showed an inclination to accept far higher percentage of Medicaid patients at 42% of PEPP practitioners accepting Medicaid compared to 9% of practitioners. The ethnic makeup of their respective patient populations closely mirrored the ethnic makeup of the United States population. The sample size was too small to be statistically efficacious. vi Conclusions: When compared to national averages, PEPP participants treated more Medicaid recipients than the average. Their patient populations were more ethnically diverse than Kentucky’s general population. Outcomes were encouraging, as it appeared that the program’s graduates were increasing access to care for underserved populations.