Recruiting New Dentists in Iowa:  A guide for your community to be successful

Chapter 2: Building a Community Recruitment Effort

Using the community dental assets and needs assessment, a community can explore the type of dental providers and clinics that it needs. In order for a community recruitment effort to succeed, it is necessary to determine the need and then build support to drive and organize the community effort. The dental community and community organizations must be committed to succeed in this effort. The following strategies are recommended to increase success of community recruitment efforts.

Educating the Community and Dental Providers of the Need

Education on the current or future need of dental care in the community begins with relationships that are built between dentists and the community they serve. One-on-one conversations are the beginning of the effort. If there is a sense of need by providers and community members, this may be the time to call a meeting or summit to discuss a community recruitment effort.

The Summit Meeting

Who to invite?

For the initial summit meeting, invitations should be extended to those in the community who have a vested interest in recruiting a new dental provider. The reasons for their interest may vary, but all should recognize the value of and support the recruitment effort. Possible participants include but are not limited to:

  • Local dental providers
  • Area I-Smile Coordinator and I-Smile Silver Coordinator (where applicable)
  • Local/county hospital · County health department or board of health
  • Economic development
    • Community and county economic development group
    • USDA Rural Development
    • Rural Electric Cooperative, independent telecommunications, municipal electric systems
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Community Foundation
  • Local government representative

When inviting dentists, the person who extends the invite matters. The best person to initiate a conversation and invitation is someone who has a personal or professional relationship with the dentist. It is possible that a dentist prefers not to be part of a community recruitment effort; however, this does not mean a community effort should be abandoned.

Agree on the need

During the initial summit meeting, it is important to have a wide array of community organizations and members. The community dental assets and needs assessment should be shared with participants in order for them to understand better the current and future landscape. Participants should come to a consensus on the need. Once participants have agreed there is a need, a community task force should be established.

Establishing a task force

Identify a chair or co-chairs for the task force. It is best if a dentist does not serve as the chair or a co-chair to avoid any potential conflict of interest and to ensure all opportunities are represented more equally.

Develop a charter statement

The charter statement simply defines the purpose of the dental recruitment task force and the goal the members want to meet. (See Appendix for a website address for “A Guide to Writing Your Team’s Charter Statement.”)

An example is the Keokuk (Iowa) Area Dental Recruitment Task Force’s statement: “We are the Keokuk Area Dental Recruitment Task Force formed to foster a community wide recruitment effort of dentists, including specialists, in order to provide comprehensive dental care for individuals in the tri-state area.”

Create an action plan

There are many action plan models to use, so you will want choose the one that is best tailored to this task force’s need. Key elements to include are:

  • Description of the activity
  • Person(s) responsible for the activity
  • When the activity should or needs to be completed
  • The date it is completed
  • Budget required, if necessary

Subcommittees are recommended for managing tasks that need to be completed or information to be collected.

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