Community Partners Working to Achieve Oral Health Equity

Author, Glenn Puckett MPA, Director of Health Systems Integration at the Arcora Foundation

Arcora Foundation and North Sound ACH have agreed to a multi-year partnership, to establish a Local Impact Network (LIN) that improves oral health outcomes in the five county, North Sound region. This partnership is the direct result of the demonstrated commitment by North Sound ACH to address whole person health disparities, including oral health.

Arcora Foundation sponsored LINs leverage local expertise and focus on approaches most likely to achieve lasting change. They link community partners who blend resources to improve oral health for those in the community who need it most. By addressing the factors that influence oral health, including disease prevention, access to dental care, and healthy behaviors, the goal is to make measurable progress toward oral health equity in three to five years by creating a sustainable network of local resources.

Arcora Foundation’s three year commitment to North Sound will include grants, technical assistance, advocacy and other resources to help build local support and leverage local resources. This community-led approach ensures solutions reflect local needs and values. 

If you want to help improve oral health in North Sound, email Ross Howell at ross@northsoundach.org to learn about joining the North Sound LIN.

Here’s how Local Impact Networks work:

  1. Arcora Foundation partners with a local organization to coordinate the LIN, including cultivating partners to head each anchor strategy (see list below).
  2. Arcora Foundation provides start-up funding for the lead organization and for each anchor strategy.
  3. The anchor strategy organizations develop creative approaches to reduce barriers and coordinate access to care.
  4. The LIN engages clinical experts, policy advisors, and local funders to spread best practices and develop sustainability plans.

Typical LIN Anchor Strategies include, but are not limited to:

  • Community Care Coordination – Connecting people to dental care that accepts their insurance or provides no- or low-cost dental services.
  • Medical Dental Integration – Providing oral health preventive services in medical settings and connecting patients to local dental providers for routine care.
  • Access to Care – Weaving together access pathways for vulnerable populations, testing new care approaches, including teledentistry, and increasing the number of dentists serving Medicaid patients.
  • Sealants – Increasing the number of children who receive dental sealants at school.
  • Place-Based Approaches – Providing coordinated medical, dental, and behavioral health services in community-based settings.
  • Community Education – Promoting targeted education messages to influence health behaviors and community norms.

Check out our October 2018 Newsletter at this link.