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CareQuest Institute for Oral Health Will Battle Inequity in Healthcare

New national nonprofit will champion health transformation to build a future in which better health through oral health is possible for everyone.


On March 29, a new national nonprofit organization, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, launched with a commitment to creating a health system that is more accessible, equitable, and connected. This national nonprofit will serve as a national champion of oral health transformation, because good overall health depends on good oral health.

CareQuest Institute for Oral Health will amplify and expand the programming, resources, and strengths of past organizations — including the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement – to broaden its impact and move faster toward creating a health system designed for everyone. CareQuest Institute is also announcing the creation of CareQuest Innovation Partners, a for-profit affiliate dedicated to advancing innovation to transform oral health access and outcomes for underserved populations. CareQuest Innovation Partners will officially launch later this year.

“The past year has laid bare what we knew long before the COVID-19 crisis—we have a health system that does not work for everyone because it was not built for everyone,” said Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president and CEO of CareQuest Institute. “We cannot stand by and allow the status quo to define our future. At CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, we are putting everything we have into championing progress and solving these issues. And we will stand with anyone who shares our belief in a future where better health through oral health is possible for everyone.”

A recent survey conducted by CareQuest Institute highlights the urgent need for action to create a more equitable, accessible, and integrated oral health care system. Among its findings, the survey reveals that roughly 6 million adult Americans have lost their dental insurance due to a job loss or benefits change that was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 65% of this group reported having a health symptom that often stems from an oral health disease affecting teeth, gums, or other tissues in the oral cavity. This statistic suggests that lack of dental coverage and inaccessibility of affordable care is fueling an oral health crisis.

Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the oral health crisis is disproportionately impacting communities of color, those living in rural communities, people with disabilities, older adults, and other historically marginalized groups. According to CareQuest Institute’s recent survey, Black Americans suffered a loss of dental coverage at a rate that was more than double that of white Americans, while Asian Americans were three times more likely to have lost coverage.

 CareQuest Institute will operate as a catalyst for systems change, bringing forth ideas and solutions to create a more equitable, accessible, and integrated health system for everyone. It will do this through its five areas of activation:

  • Grantmaking – investing strategically to strengthen communities and improve the overall health system.

  • Care Improvement – partnering with public and private stakeholders across the care continuum to test and measure prevention-focused, person-centered strategies.

  • Research – conducting innovative research and actively seeking out and analyzing data to reveal opportunities to transform oral health care and improve patient outcomes.

  • Education – building a world-class education program for medical and dental professionals, students and community partners who are committed to attaining the knowledge and skills required to transform oral health and health care.

  • Policy and Advocacy – mobilizing diverse coalitions, creating pathways and championing policies that lead us to a more integrated, accessible and equitable oral health care system.

The full CareQuest Institute portfolio — organizations in which CareQuest Institute has full or majority ownership stakes — includes dental benefits companies that collectively serve more than 32 million people nationwide, care delivery settings, and CareQuest Innovation Partners.

To learn more, visit carequest.org.

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