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DentaQuest Announces 2019 Health Equity Heroes

DentaQuest has announced the 2019 DentaQuest Health Equity Heroes.


BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE) — DentaQuest, the purpose-driven oral health company dedicated to improving the oral health of all, has announced the 2019 DentaQuest Health Equity Heroes. These six individuals and a team of clinicians are breaking down barriers and improving health for at-risk patients in seven states. Now in its fifth year, the DentaQuest Health Equity Hero awards program celebrates and promotes grassroots work that expands access to health care and prevents disease.

The 2019 DentaQuest Health Equity Heroes include:

Alicia Murria, RDH, MS(c), founder, executive director, Hygienists for Humanity, Maryland: Inspired by a homeless group she spotted under a bridge that she passed on a 5K walk, Murria founded Hygienists for Humanity. The nonprofit provides homeless and other underserved communities across the U.S. with access to dental care and hygiene products through mission work.

Michelle Vacha, RDH, BS, Community Dental Health, Colorado Springs, Colorado: In 2006, this Colorado Springs-based dental hygienist founded Community Dental Health to bring compassionate dental hygiene care into nursing homes through inventive mobile services. She now operates full-service clinics in underserved regions of the state. Aided by a team of dentists and denture technicians, she provides preventive care for place-bound seniors in nursing homes, veterans, and other vulnerable populations. Vacha seeks to achieve improved access and outcomes in her own community, while working to make preventive dental care more broadly available.

Alabama’s Head Start Programs, Alabama: Alabama Head Start is making the case that daily dental care should be a new standard for schools. Head Start children and their teachers brush their teeth together every day and local dentists visit classrooms to talk about oral health and provide preventive dental screenings. Learn more.

Kathleen Barlow, DMD, Mission Smiles, Hillsborough County, Florida: Barlow spends her weekdays caring for underserved populations as a dentist at a federally qualified community health center in Hillsborough County. On weekends, she travels the county as a volunteer with Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic, bringing oral health care to men and women living in poverty, often on the streets.

Dennis Borel, executive director of Coalition of Texans With Disabilities, Austin, Texas: Borel is leading the charge in Texas to ensure adults with disabilities have access to the preventive oral health care they need. For the last five years, Borel has championed legislation to enable access to preventive dental services for Medicaid-eligible adults with disabilities. Earlier this year, the state agreed to run a pilot program, adding preventive dental benefits for adults with disabilities.

Tee Lawton, director of community relations, Mount Hope Housing Company, Bronx, New York: Lawton meets with community boards and government officials and oversees community outreach to fulfill the organization’s mission “to sustain affordable housing.” Lawton is creating opportunities for people without the means or the knowledge to access the health care system.

Neetu Singh, DMD, MPH, Health Care for All, Massachusetts: Singh serves as the Oral Health program director at Health Care for All Massachusetts, where she advocates “further upstream” for underserved populations by introducing bills related to medical-dental integration and working with the state legislature to get them passed.


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