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Dr. Lisa Bosch: An advocate for rural dentistry

Dr. Lisa Bosch

Not every young teenager takes a summer job assisting in a dental office, but when your mother is a dental hygienist, it’s a natural fit. For ATSU-MOSDOH alumna Lisa Bosch, DMD, MPH, ’19, the experience not only planted early interest in a dental career but also helped her understand the paucity of oral healthcare resources rural Americans face.

Originally from Quincy, Illinois, Dr. Bosch worked summers and after school as an assistant in her mother’s office. When her mother was recruited to work in Louisiana, Missouri, a river town with a population around 3,000, she saw firsthand how important one dentist can be in a rural community.

Later, the dentist fell ill and, unable to find anyone to purchase his practice and replace him, closed his doors. After high school, Dr. Bosch became a dental hygienist and started working in Columbia, Missouri, where her office saw patients travel from hours away, many from communities with no dentist or that had lost their dentist and could not find anyone to replace them.

“Imagine all of the people who aren’t willing to drive that far, who only do it when a tooth needs to be pulled, or when something is in really, really bad shape,” she said.

When Dr. Bosch decided to go to dental school, she knew she wanted to stay in Missouri and practice in a rural area. ATSU-MOSDOH was set to open in a few years, and the University’s mission was a perfect match with her passion to serve underserved communities.

While on the Kirksville, Missouri, campus and later at the St. Louis Dental Center, Dr. Bosch served as the legislative liaison for ATSU-MOSDOH’s American Student Dental Association chapter. She now is the new dentist representative on the Missouri Dental Association’s (MDA) Board of Trustees and the northeast representative on the MDA’s New Dentist Committee. The support she gained through that involvement, and her education, helped her begin seeing patients successfully just a day after receiving her license.

“ATSU prepared me for that,” Dr. Bosch said. “If I had been at other schools where they don’t get the clinical experiences, I wouldn’t have been as prepared. Communicating with patients, that’s an art. The amount of patient interactions I had in school and in clinical rotations were immensely beneficial.”

Dr. Bosch purchased Knox County Dental in rural Edina, Missouri, in August 2020 and has become deeply involved in the community, serving on numerous volunteer boards. With the help of financial experts and low cost of living, her student loan debt, a factor that causes some students to spurn rural practice, is not a hindrance. In fact, her practice is thriving.

“Because there aren’t many rural dentists, as those dentists continue to retire, my practice continues to grow,” she said. “Every hour I’m doing something different, and I just love that.”

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