September 2023

Newsletter highlights

Applications now available for the 2024 AADOCR Delta Dental Institute Oral Health Equity Research Award: The American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) and the Delta Dental Institute (DDI) are now accepting applications for the second annual AADOCR DDI Oral Health Equity Research Award. Apply today!


DDI participates in Congressional briefing: On September 21, DDI was honored to participate as a panelist during a Congressional briefing on health inclusivity hosted by Haleon.  


Applications are now available for the 2024 AADOCR Delta Dental Institute Oral Health Equity Research Award


AADOCR and DDI are now accepting applications for the second annual AADOCR DDI Oral Health Equity Research Award. This award supports research that advances recommendations for greater oral health equity in populations that lack access to dental care or improves oral health literacy for underserved populations.


Two awards will be conferred — one in each research area in the amount of $25,000. The application window is open until October 17, 2023. Award winners will be announced at the 102nd General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research, the 53rd annual meeting of the AADOCR, and the 48th annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research, March 13-16, 2024, in New Orleans.

Find out more


2023 Community Impact Forum 

Our mission: your health

This month, DDI hosted the 2023 Community Impact Forum in Chicago. Representatives from Delta Dental companies across the country gathered to discuss ways to address oral and overall health disparities, improve health equity, drive greater diversity in the oral health workforce, and find sustainable solutions to build a healthier tomorrow. Leaders in philanthropy, advocacy, and ESG shared insights on how to create value, make an impact, and continually evaluate program effectiveness. 

We were also proud to participate in The Kindness Rocks Project — a worldwide initiative to help promote random acts of kindness. Attendees had the opportunity to paint and create inspirational rocks and join the movement. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Forum a success!

Delta Dental of Idaho:

Improving oral health through mobile care

Delta Dental of Idaho’s Grins on the Go program delivers vital oral health services to youth, prioritizing low-income schools, offers families oral health education, screenings, and free preventive services such as fluoride varnish and dental sealants, and conducts interactive summer education programs in community parks for children receiving free lunches. In 2022, Grins on the Go impacted the lives of nearly 17,000 students and has provided oral health care to over 130,000 Idahoans since its inception.

Learn more

Delta Dental of Missouri:

Supporting inclusive dental care

Delta Dental of Missouri supported Vivent Health’s AIDS Resource Center and HIV Medical Home Dental Program, which provides comprehensive dental care to people living with HIV regardless of their ability to pay. With nearly 80% of patients uninsured or underinsured, the grant expanded the dental clinic’s capacity and helped it serve around 800 patients. Additionally, a new collaboration was created to maximize dental funding coordination between Medicaid, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and St. Louis agencies serving people living with HIV.

Learn more

Delta Dental of Rhode Island: Expanding oral health care access

Delta Dental of Rhode Island (DDRI) has been a longtime presenting sponsor of the Rhode Island Mission of Mercy. The two-day clinic provides free oral health services for residents across the state. In 2022, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic served over 450 Rhode Islanders who received more than $273,000 in donated dental services, thanks to the Rhode Island Oral Health Foundation, DDRI, and a team of dental professionals and community volunteers. DDRI is proud to sponsor the upcoming 2023 Rhode Island Mission of Mercy on September 30 - October 1.  

Learn more


Hill briefing: Policy opportunities for everyday health

On September 21, DDI was honored to participate as a panelist during a Congressional briefing on health inclusivity hosted by Haleon.


The briefing featured a panel discussion focused on opportunities to promote health inclusivity, approaches for improving access to care in rural communities, and the importance of oral health to overall health and oral health literacy. 

Speakers included:

  • Elizabeth Brewer, Vice President & Head of Government Affairs – U.S., Haleon
  • Carrie Cochran-McClain, Chief Policy Officer, National Rural Health Association
  • Araceli Gutierrez, Manager, Public Affairs, Delta Dental Plans Association on behalf of the Delta Dental Institute
  • Moderated by Sara Singleton, Leavitt Partners

Thank you to the office of Rep. Tom Kean (NJ-07) for their support in the production of this event.

Addressing access and equity in Wisconsin: Lessons learned in Madison

A roundtable discussion with Axios


In August, DDI convened its first Expert Voices roundtable discussion of 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin, featuring local health care leaders, policymakers, and medical experts. Guests discussed the barriers and potential solutions to addressing issues impacting health care access and quality in Wisconsin.


In partnership with Delta Dental of Wisconsin and Axios, DDI was honored to have Francesca Hong, Wisconsin State Representative; Russell Dunkel, Wisconsin State Dental Director and Chief Dental Officer; and Stephanie Harrison, CEO, Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, in attendance.

Key themes from the conversation:

  • Attendees shared their perspectives on several different challenges impacting health care in Wisconsin, from effectively communicating information around Medicaid redetermination and inadequate amounts of government funding to meeting the needs of patients and simplifying health care system structures.
  • Participants highlighted the success of telehealth and other state programs in expanding access to behavioral health care and dental care in Wisconsin and noted the need for telehealth's continued use and expansion into other types of care.
Learn more

Improving dental health outcomes for all

Elizabeth Carr and Dr. Sreenivas Koka from the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry explain how improving dental health outcomes for all requires collaboration and commitment. 

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Empowering kids through health insurance literacy

Andrea Miller, MPA, Delta Dental of Colorado, discusses the importance of improving health insurance literacy and investing in the financial well-being of the next generation. 

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Campaign update:

Driving Greater Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce 

In March, DDI launched a new campaign, Driving Greater Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce, to help increase the number of oral health professionals from historically underrepresented groups. Later this year, DDI will announce the inaugural winners of the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund. 

To learn more about DDI’s campaign, Driving Greater Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce, click here.

Unlocking the oral health workforce’s power and potential

Emily Yu, External Advisor to the Driving Greater Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce campaign, discusses how innovative leaders are focusing their efforts on cultivating, diversifying, and supporting the oral health workforce. 

Read more

Featured statistic

Vast majority of U.S. adults value dental insurance in supporting overall wellness

Dental insurance provides health, emotional, and financial benefits ranging from good overall health to peace of mind to helping save money.

Read the report

Source: Delta Dental’s 2023 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report 

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