Since 2011, IPHCA has been a grantee of the DentaQuest Foundation’s Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative. This project enabled IPHCA to provide assistance to Illinois community health center dental programs and lead training events for dental team clinicians. Through the support of partner organizations such as the National Network for Oral Health Access, Safety Net Solutions, the National Association of Community Health Centers, and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, IPHCA was able to:
- Empower oral health clinicians to assume leadership roles
- Collaborate with local, state, and national entities to increase public and private funding for oral health initiatives
- Promote interprofessional primary care and oral health interactions
- Assist in the development of policies
Fifteen health centers were able to receive technical assistance/Safety Net Solutions consultations through this initiative.
IPHCA built strong institutional knowledge around oral health programming during the course of four years of participation in the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative. The DentaQuest Foundation recognized these strengths and selected IPHCA to become one of five state primary care associations to lead a second phase of the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative. Beginning in April 2015, IPHCA will join our partners in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, and Pennsylvania, to spread awareness of our successes and lessons learned to fifteen additional state primary care associations.
Most people utilizing oral health services at community health centers are disproportionally impacted by the social determinants of health. As a network of PCAs serving these populations, we see the safety net as being leaders in providing these populations with quality person-centered care. During IPHCA’s leadership in the next phase of this initiative, we hope to foster the spread of innovative solutions for improving public oral health.