1066 Differences Between Volunteer and Non-Volunteer Dentists in Northeastern Indiana

Friday, March 23, 2012: 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Presentation Type: Poster Session
T. KIMMEL, K.M. YODER, and G.J. ECKERT, School of Dentistry, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
Objectives: This study compares differences between two groups: dentists who choose to volunteer at safety net clinics and those who do not in Northeastern Indiana. Identifying demographic differences between volunteers and non-volunteers will aide directors of safety net clinics in focusing their recruiting efforts on only the dentists shown to be more likely to volunteer. Increased volunteer dentists can be one way to increase access to care for populations that utilize the services of safety net clinics. Methods: A paper survey was mailed to 297 dentists in Northeastern Indiana asking the dentists for demographic data as well as why they choose to or not to volunteer. Results: Of the 297 dentists, 134 responded. Statistically significant (p<0.05) results included volunteers identifying themselves as members of one or more professional associations, being more interested in receiving a tax break or continuing education credit for volunteer services rendered, and  indicating an earlier graduation year than those who did not volunteer. Volunteer dentists gave many reasons for volunteering, including a sense of duty (“right thing to do”), to fulfill a need in the community, and for religious reasons. Those dentists that did not volunteer cited the following reasons for not doing so: too busy, not having the financial resources to volunteer, not interested in volunteer work, and wanting to be able to select their own charity cases. Conclusions: This survey was able to elucidate several differences between volunteer and non-volunteer dentists. Knowing what demographic characteristics to target, what benefits a volunteer expects to get, and the reasons why a dentist often cannot volunteer allows directors of safety net clinics the opportunity to make changes to their volunteer programs that will foster success in the future in recruiting dentists to volunteer.    

Supported, in part, by the Indiana University School of Dentistry Dental Student Research Fund.

This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source: Indiana University School of Dentistry Dental Student Research Fund

Keywords: Access, Preventive dentistry and volunteer