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Hometown Scholars : Dentistry in the Community : Dental Clinic : Community FAQs

Hometown Scholars

Do you…

Want to help improve the health of your community? Desire to work in your community’s health center? Aspire to be a dentist?

If you answered “yes,” then Hometown Scholars may be for you!

ATSU-ASDOH was started in response to requests from community health centers (CHCs) and other safety net providers. The mission of the school is to educate caring, technologically adept dentists who become community and educational leaders serving those in need. The purpose of Hometown Scholars is to help ATSU-ASDOH meet the needs of CHCs by attracting and training dedicated, motivated, and qualified community-minded dentists. This information is designed to help you discover how you might become a Hometown Scholars endorsed applicant.

Hometown Scholars applicants are those who have

  • Located a CHC to stay involved with
  • Developed relationships with CHC staff and leadership
  • Learned about the working environment of a CHC
  • Gained valuable volunteer or work experience
  • Gained ATSU-ASDOH application endorsement from a CHC leader

Hometown Scholars endorsement lets the dental school know which applicants CHCs believe could become the compassionate community-minded healers they would like to employ. If you are interested in seeking a Hometown Scholars endorsement, visit the Bureau of Primary Health Care web page to identify a CHC to connect with as a volunteer or employee. In this way, you can learn about that health center’s approach for improving community health, develop health center relationships, and hopefully, gain the endorsement from that CHC.

A CHC leader can advocate for your acceptance into the dental school by sending a Hometown Scholars endorsement letter to Gary Cloud, PhD (address below). Hometown Scholars letters of endorsement do not replace the regular application process. Hometown Scholars endorsement letters parallel the regular application process – a process that requires its own letters of support.

What is a CHC?

CHC mission
To promote the provision of high-quality, comprehensive healthcare that is accessible, coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, and community directed for all underserved populations.

CHC service
Community, migrant, and homeless health centers are not-for-profit providers of healthcare to America’s poor and medically underserved. Health centers serve the working poor and the uninsured in the nation’s neediest intercity, suburban, and rural communities. Innovative CHC programs in primary and preventive care serve 23 million people through 8,500 delivery sites.

The innovative and successful CHC model has been heralded as a template for this nation’s healthcare system. The CHC model integrates oral health into a comprehensive primary care approach. The nation, however, faces a shortage of dentists, and health center communities are especially hard hit by this lack of dental and oral healthcare. CHCs are working to address the growing oral health crisis in their communities by expanding dental facilities and hiring dentists, and ATSU-ASDOH is working with the CHCs to help alleviate that crisis.

ATSU-ASDOH is an accredited, private, non-profit dental school offering an innovative dental education curriculum that includes a community health point of view where students serve in CHC settings. In addition, dental student coursework in the four-year program includes a certificate in public health management allowing graduates an inroad to obtaining a master in public health. Students also have the opportunity to learn about community leadership, CHCs’ organizational structure and governance, underserved population outreach strategies, and health policy development.

More information and related links:


Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS)

National Association of Community Health Centers

Bureau of Primary Health Care website through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

For more information about the Hometown Scholars program, contact

Gary Cloud, PhD
Vice President, Strategic University Partnerships
Phone: 480.219.6013

For more information about ATSU-ASDOH, contact

Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health
A.T. Still University
5850 E. Still Circle
Mesa, AZ 85206
Phone: 480.219.6000