Iowa PCA Receives $50,000 Grant for MA/DA Programs

December 23, 2022

The Iowa Primary Care Association received a $50,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative (TCI), a private, Iowa-based charitable foundation. These funds will support the dental and medical assistant programs for Iowa’s community health centers, which bring on-demand, work-based medical and dental assistant training programs to community health centers across Iowa.

In 2021, medical and dental assistants (MAs and Das) were identified as two of the top areas for focus by the Readiness to Train Assessment Tool (RTAT) that was sent to all CHCs across the country. The RTAT is a 41-item, 7-subscale validated survey instrument that covered dimensions of CHC readiness for engaging with HP-ET programs that subject matter experts deemed critical. All 14 CHCs in Iowa completed this assessment; it demonstrated a high need and interest in training and “grow your own” programs for DAs and MAs.

For nine of the CHCs, MAs and DAs are the top workforce shortage areas, which is slowing clinical operations as the demand for CHC services is increasing (11 CHCs have waiting lists for services; eight have waiting lists for both oral and behavioral health services; five have a waiting list for medical services). We will be partnering with the 14 CHCs in Iowa to implement and evaluate online, on-demand MA and DA training programs developed by our sister Primary Care Association in the State of Washington. These programs will be marketed in the CHCs’ communities; during the first year of the program our goal is to train 10 MAs and 10 DAs to help address the critical staffing shortages being experienced by our CHCs.

The Iowa PCA was one of only 21 grantees selected for TCI’s 2022 Illinois and Iowa-based funding cycle, which awarded a total of $918,137 in grants to nonprofit organizations in these states. This includes 12 grants totaling $507,580 to Illinois nonprofits and $410,557 in funding to 9 grantees in Iowa. TCI supports organizations and projects that strive to improve the health of communities Telligen serves. Since 2014, TCI has awarded more than $15 million to 357 organizations and projects in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado.

The Iowa PCA maintains that to bring health equity on par with cost reductions, improved quality and patient and staff satisfaction, the healthcare delivery system must look beyond its four walls and meaningfully engage with partners to improve community health. These programs will be marketed in CHCs’ communities with the goal of training 10 MAs and 10 DAs in the first year to help address the critical staffing shortages being experienced by Iowa CHCs.