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CareQuest Institute for Oral Health Awards $2.3 Million in Grant Funding for Projects Focused on Advancing Equity

Funds Support Grantees to Advance Health Care Policy, Build Community Capacity, and Expand Access to Care

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May 22, 2024 (Boston, MA) –  CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®, a leading national nonprofit focused on creating a more accessible, equitable, and integrated oral health system, has awarded more than $2.3 million in grant funds to help advance equity in oral health across the nation. Grants were awarded to 14 organizations across the country from Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont, and beyond.

“We are excited to award funding to organizations dedicated to advancing equity in oral health locally and across the nation,” said Trenae Simpson, Director of Grants and Programs at CareQuest Institute. “Allocation of these funds underscores CareQuest Institute’s commitment to fostering inclusive and accessible oral health systems, particularly within historically marginalized communities. By supporting initiatives with equity-driven approaches, we aim to spark transformative change and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to attain optimal oral health.”

In 2024, CareQuest Institute will award $13 million in grants, with a focus on collaborating with organizations that embody and reflect the communities that have historically been hurt by glaring inequities in oral health, including racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, veterans, and tribal and rural communities.

This quarter, CareQuest Institute provided grants to the following organizations:

Alabama Arise ($150,000) to support work to advocate for expanded Medicaid coverage including educational advocacy efforts around oral health, opportunities to advance teledentistry and medical-dental integration.

Berkeley Free Dental Clinic ($13,000) to support the clinic’s oral health services by purchasing a flash sterilizer, additional dental hygiene instruments, and installation of an Isodry system in dental chairs.

Center for Medicare Advocacy ($145,000) to support work to expand oral health coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.

Community Catalyst ($564,334) to support continued federal and state advocacy for comprehensive health coverage, inclusive of oral health, that is centered on the needs and perspectives of the community, as well as provide technical assistance and training around equity-driven community engagement in service of oral health systems change.

Health Care For All ($150,000) to support efforts to enhance oral health integration and promote teledentistry, protect and defend adult dental Medicaid benefits, advocate for state and federal policies aimed at expanding access to vulnerable populations, and conduct listening sessions with community members and organizations to inform the organization’s 2025-2026 oral health legislative agenda.

Heart Ministry Center ($150,000) to support the center as they determine their oral health policy and advocacy priorities through trauma-informed story gathering of community members impacted by oral health challenges.

Hispanic Dental Association ($278,535) to inform evidence-based policy decisions and support Hispanic dental providers as equity driven advocates for oral health.

Kentucky Voices for Health ($125,000) to support the efforts as they advocate to prevent the unraveling of Medicaid expansion including expanded dental benefits through the leveraging of community voice.

Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers ($150,000) to expand and pilot a four-part curriculum developed to equip oral health staff within community health center dental clinics with culturally sensitive communication skills to improve patient-providers relationships and care outcomes.

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences ($78,500) to support the teams at Pacific Northwest University School of Dental Medicine (PNWU-SDM) and the Northwest Interprofessional Health Collaborative (NIHC) to develop, implement, measure, and share a comprehensive, multi-year interprofessional education (IPE) curriculum for DMD students and professionals.

Suwannee River Area Health Education Center ($112,488) to support the Education Center as the fiscal sponsor for Floridians for Dental Access (FLDA), to advocate for the passage of dental therapy legislation in Florida.

Texas Health Institute ($184,848) to support the development of a state-level dashboard with population health data that will inform advocacy efforts in the 2025 legislative session. The grant funding will also support efforts to address access gaps for minority populations in Texas by conducting a landscape scan of current efforts, develop a learning collab for providers to advance solutions to these gaps, and engage with academic institutions to advance policies to address care gaps.

University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine ($150,000) to support the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine to strengthen the community voices of the American Indian community living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, through authentic partnership development to test a theoretical framework on perceived discrimination and other dental care-related experiences in the utilization of dental care among adults in this population.

Voices for Vermont’s Children ($125,000) to support the creation of an outreach and awareness campaign that reflects community-identified oral health policy priorities, promotes the use of medical management of dental disease, and improves access to care for Medicaid-enrolled and uninsured patients through intentional medical-dental integration policy design.

To learn more about CareQuest Institute’s philanthropy work, click here.

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