08:54 AM

Updated Funding Strategy Boosts Community, Consumer and Health Equity Voices for Oral Health Transformation

DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement 2020 grants are supporting state, local and primary care changemakers

Advocacy Square

This year represents a new phase in grantmaking for the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement. Still grounded in our long-term mission to create an effective and equitable health system that results in improved oral health and wellbeing for all, we have adapted our approach going forward based on lessons learned over more than two decades of grantmaking. Our experience points to the continued — and, indeed, growing — need for more community and consumer voices to be engaged in policy change efforts.

Three refined core values shape our current funding approach:

  1. Oral health is a critical part of one’s overall health

    • The link and importance of good oral health to overall health is not widely understood and that current system of dental care and payment is too focused on surgically treating disease rather than preventing it.

  2. The system of oral health has created barriers for traditionally underserved communities, resulting in inequities and barriers to care for certain populations

    • Those who are underserved by the current oral health system are frequently the same communities that have been historically marginalized in other areas of health and wellness for decades, leading to a complex web of social determinants that continue to produce poor health outcomes and inhibit certain populations’ ability to access the care they need. This, in turn, affects myriad other aspects of community and individual wellbeing.

  3. Collective action is needed to “shift the conditions that hold the problems in place”

    • In order to change the system that is creating poor and inequitable results, it is essential to create a diverse, inclusive network of partners and perspectives — including those from communities most negatively impacted by the current system.

To apply these values to our grantmaking in 2020, we issued three requests for proposals (RFPs) in the fall of 2019, with the explicit goals of:

  • elevating communities and consumer voice;

  • supporting collective policy advocacy; and

  • developing equitable, integrated models to deliver better care in oral health and overall health.

While built around the DentaQuest Partnership’s three main focus areas—developing, testing, and spreading new models of person-centered care; expanding access to public adult dental benefits; and supporting efforts to measure and report on oral health status nationally—our 2020 strategy also positions our work to closely align with and continue to support broad national oral health systems change efforts driven by the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN) and its partners across the country.

We are pleased to announce our state-based, community, and primary care association partners for the coming year:


Building Community Power to Create Oral Health Equity

This initiative supports advocacy capacity and power-building in historically marginalized communities to increase their share of voice in the oral health system at the local, state, and/or national levels; and in policy-change conversations.

  • Asian Pacific Community in Action (AZ)
  • Arkansas Medical Dental Pharmaceutical Association (AR)
  • Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (CA)
  • United Health Organization (MI)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)
  • Put People First! (PA)
  • Hawaii Children's Action Network (HI)
  • AltaMed Health Services (CA)
  • Native American Connections (AZ)
  • Maine Equal Justice Partners (ME)

Supporting Statewide Advocacy Groups to Create Oral Health Equity

This initiative supports statewide advocacy groups to engage in policy advocacy efforts driven through collaboration and community partnerships, building alignment across statewide policy and the needs articulated by underserved communities.

  • United Way of Central Iowa (IA)
  • Connecticut Oral Health Initiative (CT)
  • Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (TX)
  • Poverty Action (WA)
  • Asian Resources, Inc. (CA)
  • Children Now (CA)
  • Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy (TX)
  • Kentucky Youth Advocates (KY)
  • Florida Voices for Health (FL)
  • Hawaii Public Health Institute (HI)
  • Virginia Health Catalyst (VA)
  • Missouri Coalition for Oral Health (MO)
  • NC Child (NC)
  • ACHIEVA/ The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh (PA)
  • New Hampshire Oral Health Coalition (NH)
  • Maryland Dental Action Coalition, Inc. (MD)
  • Michigan Oral Health Coalition (MI)
  • Children's Action Alliance (AZ)

Driving Oral Health Transformation in the Safety Net Initiative

This initiative supports primary care associations (statewide groups of federally-qualified health centers and other safety net providers) to strengthen the capacity of community health centers, design and test new models of care, build capacity around the social determinants of health, and evolve the safety net to best serve millions of uninsured and underserved Americans who rely on this system to meet their healthcare needs, including oral health.

  • Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IL)
  • Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (MA)
  • Maine Primary Care Association (ME)
  • Alaska Primary Care Association (AK)
  • Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers (AZ)
  • Oregon Primary Care Association (OR)
  • Washington Association for Community Health (WA)
  • South Carolina Primary Care Association (SC)

More information about each organization’s work, as well as 2019 grantmaking and funding, is available on our website.

As we move through the year and deepen our practice of systems-change grantmaking, we welcome organizations and funders interested in collective action around health equity and racial justice to engage with us, our grantee partners, and OPEN.


By Michael Monopoli, DMD, MPH, MS,  Executive Director Grant Making Strategy, DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement

About the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement 

The DentaQuest Partnership is laser-focused on transforming our broken health care system to enable better health through oral health. Through strategic grantmaking, research and care improvement initiatives we drive meaningful change at the local, state and national levels. The DentaQuest Partnership is a nonprofit part of DentaQuest, a leading U.S. oral health enterprise with a mission to improve the oral health of all through an all-in approach we call Preventistry®. Find out more at www.dentaquestpartnership.org.

About DentaQuest

DentaQuest is a purpose-driven oral health care company dedicated to improving the oral health of all. We do this through Preventistry® – our all-in approach to better care, expanded access, value-based financing, and innovative solutions. We manage dental and vision benefits for 27+ million Americans and provide direct patient care through our network of more than 85 oral health centers in 5 states. We provide outcomes-based, cost-effective dental solutions for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses, and individuals nationwide. And, we've invested more than $200 million in grants and programs to achieve measurably healthier communities across the country. By advancing prevention-focused oral health, we will achieve better overall health for everyone. Learn more at www.DentaQuest.com and follow us on social: Twitter @DentaQuest, Facebook www.facebook.com/DentaQuest, Instagram @Inside_DentaQuest, and LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/DentaQuest.