We are excited to share that our Dental Director, Rebecca Schneider, was featured by the Utah Department of Health & Human Services. Click here to view the original post.

Student loan repayment program helps a dentist improve smiles and be part of a life-transforming team

Dr. Rebecca “Beck” Schneider is a dentist at Wasatch Homeless Healthcare, Inc., commonly called the Fourth Street Clinic. Her work at the clinic isn’t just about improving smiles. Through integration with medical care, Schneider’s work is transforming lives. Patients who come to the clinic for dental care must first see a medical provider. They take a holistic approach with their patients and treat chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and other illnesses. Patients say they can think clearer after dental treatment because they’re no longer in pain.

Schneider recalls treating a patient who had visited the local emergency room (ER) 9 times in 18 months for dental issues. The ER visits provided immediate relief but led to medical debt, and failed to address the underlying source of infection, which Schneider was able to treat. “It’s a common misconception that the ER is a place that one would go to receive dental care,” said Schneider.

Schneider’s work to prevent the misuse of ER services extends beyond helping individual patients at the clinic. She has assisted Utah’s Oral Health Program to provide continuing education credits to participants in the Utah Oral Health Innovation Program. This is a pilot program to train emergency department staff at Ashley Valley and Uintah Basin on how to identify and refer patients experiencing dental emergencies to Mountainlands Community Health Center.

Dr. Schneider is a recipient of the Health Care Workforce Financial Assistance Program, a loan repayment program that is designed to support providers who serve underserved populations.

“The benefits of the Health Care Workforce Financial Assistance Program mean a great deal to me. This program helps me fulfill my purpose and passion for dentistry, especially for those who otherwise wouldn’t have received dental care.”

-Dr. Beck Schneider

Born in Blackhills, South Dakota, Schneider took her first job in a dentist’s office at the age of 15. She saw firsthand how essential dentists are in providing care to underserved communities, including their local indigenous population.

“Being raised in a rural community that was underserved, I understand the importance of serving those who otherwise would have gone without care,” said Schneider.

Fourth Street Clinic helps individuals experiencing homelessness improve their health and quality of life by providing high-quality integrated healthcare. For many Utahns experiencing homelessness, Fourth Street Clinic is their first and only chance at a diagnosis and on-going treatment. By increasing access to primary care, Fourth Street Clinic is a major partner in ending homelessness, promoting community health, and achieving across-the-board healthcare savings.

Due to the heavy burden of student loan debt, many new dentists work at private dental offices to maximize their earning potentials, leading to shortages of dental providers in underserved areas. Loan repayment helps bridge the gap in compensation between these dental settings to make sure that providers like Schneider can fulfill the needs of disadvantaged patients, while addressing student loan debt. Read more information about the Health Care Workforce Financial Assistance Program.

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $2,378,650, with 45% funded by HRSA/HHS and 55% funded by Utah’s state Legislature. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS or the U.S. government.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services may occasionally link to outside sources of information. DHHS and the state of Utah do not necessarily endorse the provider of the content and are not responsible for any content published on the external site.