Small Town Calling

Gretchen Kletscher

Fourth-year DDS student Gretchen Kletscher grew up living on the Mississippi River in Brainerd, Minnesota. Today she’s eager to return to a lifestyle where she knows her neighbors and has access to great fishing and the other outdoor activities she loves.

Kletscher’s final academic year will include a four-week practice experience at the School of Dentistry clinic in rural Hibbing, Minnesota, and another week staffing the school’s mobile dental clinic in tiny Walker, Minnesota. She also shadowed a dentist in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, for three weeks through a program offered through the School of Dentistry.

“These experiences are helping me confirm that Northern Minnesota is where I see myself in the future,” she said. “I want to be one of just two or three dentists in town, and I want to be involved in the community.”

Kletscher notes other potential benefits of practicing in rural Minnesota too. “I am not a fan of rush hour traffic,” she says. “And small town dentists don’t need to do as much marketing as those in a big metropolitan area.”

In addition, she says, the State of Minnesota offers a student loan forgiveness program to certain health care providers who practice in specific areas of the state. Kletscher says this is icing on the cake for her.

While she does not yet know exactly where she will end up, Ketscher has no doubt that teaming up with an established dentist in Northern Minnesota will be the right career move for her.

“I am surprised that more of my classmates are not seeking out the small town lifestyle,” she says. “My fiancé and I want to raise a family in a small community, where we work hard, but also have easy access to lakes, recreation and nature. I am eager for my final year of dental school at the University of Minnesota and am very excited about the next chapter!”