Poster #107
Leslie Nordgren, RDH, MPH, PhD, Merry Jo Thoele, RDH, MPH, and Barbara Hann, BA
Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, Minnesota
Minnesota Oral Health Program
To examine the dental hygiene (DH) workforce
supply and demand in Minnesota.
Specific objectives were to report the following:
 Results by state rural/urban commuting areas
 Number of dental staff employed by type (demand)
 Results of the DH program director interviews
(supply)
 Survey results from the DH workforce survey
(supply).
Data for demand for clinical DHs were obtained using
 Mailed questionnaire to 1286 dental clinics
(demand)
 In-depth telephone interviews with DH program
directors (supply)
 Mailed questionnaire to 1108 DHs (supply)
Respondents
 Dental clinics (n = 1128)
 DH program directors (n = 10)
 Licensed DHs working in Minnesota (n =507)
 210 (estimated) DH graduates in 2012
 Recent DH graduates
• 62% employed (median of 5 programs) (some
part-time, temporary and/or dental assisting)
• 82% employed in Minnesota
• 29% employed in rural areas (median)
Figure 2. Reasons DH Seeking Employment
(Preliminary Data)
2%
More hours
21%
Closer to home
14%
12%
I was terminated
40%
 3,219 (estimated) filled dentist positions in MN
 4,688 (estimated) filled dental assistant positions in
MN
 Preliminary findings (46% response from first
mailing)
• 91 (18%) of working DHs are seeking
different or additional employment as a DH
• 64 (2%) of DHs are not employed as a DH and
are seeking employment as a DH
Figure 5. Percent of Dental Clinics Recruiting by
Staff Type and Area Rural/Urban
Commuting Area
4%
Higher salary
7%
Benefits
10%
8%
Other
8%
6%
17%
No Answer
4%
2%
Figure 3. Clinics Stating Too Many Hygienists Oversupply
0%
Urban
Large Rural
Dentists
Small Rural
DH
Isolated
DA
100%
90%
80%
Figure 1. Dental Clinics Reporting Hygienist
Openings
Response rate
 Mailed questionnaire to clinics – 76%
 DH program directors – 100%
 Mailed questionnaire to DHs – not yet available
There is an oversupply of DHs in Minnesota. There
are nearly 3 times as many 2012 DH graduates as
available jobs statewide. Based on preliminary
findings, 18% of the DHs working in Minnesota are
seeking different or additional employment.
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Urban
Lg Rural
Sm Rural
Isolated
Figure 4. Age of MN Working Dental Hygienists.
Of those seeking employment:
 40% reported wanting more hours
 >40% of the DHs working are older than 45
 no significant difference in age distribution
65+ (1%)





4,107 (estimated) filled DH positions
Statewide 44% of filled positions were part-time
73 (estimated) DH jobs open statewide
84% DH job openings in urban areas
2 of 10 DH programs include expanded restorative
functions in curriculum
 DH program directors report no changes planned
for curriculum
Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes (RUCAs)
Rural-Urban Commuting Area codes, or RUCAs, are a census tract-based classification scheme that utilizes the standard Bureau
of Census urban area and place definitions in combination with commuting information to characterize all of the nation's census
tracts regarding their rural and urban status and relationships. The Health Resources and Service Administration's Office of Rural
Health, the WWAMI Rural Research Center at the University of Washington and the USDA's Economic Research Service
collaborated to create the RUCA system that classifies sub-county areas on a scale representing urbanization, population density,
and daily commuting.
Recruiting rates are higher for dentists and DAs than
for DHs in all areas of the state.
55-64
<35
(16%)
(34%)
45-54
(26%)
35-44
(23%)
Acknowledgments
We are especially grateful to Laura Grangaard for carrying
out the data management and for her analysis input.
We also thank Angie Sechler for her mapping expertise.
Funding was made possible through the Health Resources
and Services Administration grant #T12HP14659
Limitations to the data:
 DH survey data are preliminary
 Dental clinic survey and the DH survey are subject
to recall bias
For further information
Please contact Leslie Nordgren at [email protected]
More information on this and other rural-related projects can be obtained at
the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Rural Health and Primary
Care website at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/
or Minnesota Department of Health Oral Health Program website at
http://www.health.state.mn.us/oralhealth/
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