Arizona Native American Oral Health Care Coalition Receives DentaQuest Foundation Grant

Arizona Native American Oral Health Care Coalition Receives DentaQuest Foundation’s Oral Health 2014 Initiative to Eliminate Oral Health Disparities

October 17, 2011 – The DentaQuest Foundation has selected a coalition of Arizona tribal organizations and public and private oral health stakeholders to join its Oral Health 2014 Initiative. The Arizona Dental Foundation will serve as the fiscal agent for the group. The Coalition will receive resources to support its work to tackle the severe oral health disparities among the Native American community in Arizona, where children have decay rates that are 400% greater than the national average and one in four tribal elders is without natural teeth.

The initiative grew out of the recommendations of the first ever Arizona American Indian Oral health Summit held in April of this past year. The Summit was jointly planned and organized by the project’s partners. A full report of the Summit can be viewed at: http://azda.org/Download/AZ_AmericanIndian/index.html

The Oral Health 2014 Initiative is a major step to launch a national movement to reverse profound oral health disparities in the United States. The Arizona initiative joins non-profit partners in 20 states in this nationwide collaborative effort: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

“This is a really important moment for oral health,” said Ralph Fuccillo, president of the DentaQuest Foundation. “State organizations have a critical role in health improvements as advocates and stakeholders. Arizona’s effort, along with the other Oral Health 2014 organizations, enhance the national movement of collaborative leaders who are embracing the challenge and the opportunity to address oral health disparities in their communities.”

“The Oral Health 2014 grant will go a long way to support strategic collaboration on oral health issues between the Native American community in Arizona with both public and private stakeholders” said Frederick Hubbard, executive director of the Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care, one of the partners in the project.

Nearly 70 organizations expressed interest in the Oral Health 2014 initiative and its objectives. Thirty-six organizations were invited to submit full proposals.

According to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine, nearly 5 million children went without regular dental checkups in 2008 because of financial limitations, and 33.3 million

Americans live in an area with a shortage of dental professionals. The multi-year Oral Health 2014 Initiative aims to eliminate such disparities by supporting state organizations who are building community partnerships.

Every proposal was reviewed to evaluate its fit with the selection criteria. A distinguished National Advisory Committee of leaders in community health, philanthropy, civic engagement, and members of the founding board of the U.S. National Oral Health Alliance provided guidance to the DentaQuest Foundation in the development of the program and the selection of grantees. They are:

Dr. Caswell Evans of the University of Illinois, DentaQuest Foundation Board of Directors and the U.S. National Oral Health Alliance Founding Board of Directors

Paul Gilmer of Triana Energy and a member of the National Community Committee of the CDC Prevention Research Centers

Dr. Leslie E. Grant of the National Dental Association and the U.S. National Oral Health Alliance Founding Board of Directors

Marion Kane, formerly of Barr Foundation and currently on the Board of the Directors for the DentaQuest Foundation

Dr. Dushanka Kleinman of the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the U.S. National Oral Health Alliance Founding Board of Directors

Barbara Leonard of the Maine Health Access Foundation

Sandra Owens Lawson of CRP Corp.

Dr. Lindsey Robinson of the California Dental Association Foundation and the U.S.

National Oral Health Alliance Founding Board of Directors, and  Dr. Donna Shelley of New York University School of Nursing and Dentistry.

The Arizona Native American Oral Health Coalition will now engage tribal and urban Indian community leaders in a series of consultation and strategic planning sessions to develop feasible tribally-driven and sustainable strategies for improving oral health literacy and building community capacity and infrastructure to expand prevention and treatment services.

About the DentaQuest Foundation

The DentaQuest Foundation (dentaquestfoundation.org) invests in national and community- based efforts to improve oral health for all through its support of prevention and access to oral health care, and through its partnerships with funders, policy makers, and community leaders. The DentaQuest Foundation is supported by DentaQuest, a leading oral health company, administering prevention-focused dental benefits to nearly 15 million individuals across the United States. DentaQuest is a partner in the community and committed to improving oral health through access, innovation and affordability.


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