The Delta Dental Institute has released its 2020 Community Impact Report, highlighting the investments the Delta Dental companies and their foundations made in 2020 to advance oral health, respond to COVID-19, and address health inequities and disparities. Delta Dental of Arizona impacted the lives of 346,818 individuals in Arizona by investing $1,787,734 in 54 community impact programs. Nationwide, the Delta Dental companies together invested more than $102.5 million in communities in 2020, supporting over 2,400 programs, impacting 24.7 million lives, and volunteering 20,000 hours—more than ever before in Delta Dental’s 65-year history. In addition to their community impact engagement, Delta Dental companies across the country also committed $1.1 billion.
“As our country grappled with a pandemic, injustice, and lingering gaps in oral health care access and education, Delta Dental stood with our communities to meet their most pressing needs,” said James W. Hutchison, president and CEO, Delta Dental Plans Association. “In a time of crisis and uncertainty, Delta Dental never wavered in its enduring commitment to achieve access and equity for all.”
The report highlights three main areas of giving in 2020: advancing oral health, responding to COVID-19, and addressing health inequities and disparities.
• Delta Dental companies served communities’ oral health by supporting direct dental treatment in underserved communities; water fluoridation initiatives; and oral health education.
• Delta Dental companies responded to COVID-19 by delivering loans to safety net dental clinics; enabling dental offices to acquire PPE; and supporting local safety nets like food banks.
• Delta Dental companies reacted to the country’s struggle with its long history of racial injustice by investing in organizations like the NAACP and the National Urban League; reaching underserved communities of color with oral health programs; and supporting scholarships and training for dentists of color.
“Community is everything to us at Delta Dental,” said Vivian Vasallo, executive director, Delta Dental Institute. “While the memories of 2020 will stay with us for years to come, so will the positive impact the Delta Dental companies had on millions of lives by keeping our promise to serve the oral and overall health of our communities.”
A sampling of the 54 organizations positively impacted by Delta Dental of Arizona and its Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation in 2020 includes:
• Boys and Girls Club of Metro Phoenix Children’s Dental Clinic provides preventive and restorative oral health services to at least 890 low-income, uninsured youth in Metro Phoenix who attend BGCMP’s Homes Club and other children and families in the community.
• El Rio Community Health Center embeds dental hygiene teams in five El Rio Health locations throughout Tucson and provides dental screening, fluoride varnish and oral health education to 16,000 children who receive pediatric well visits. Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH), Smiles for Kids program isa school-based, oral health education and screening program provided to children in schools and community events in Title 1 schools in the Scottsdale Public School District and Paradise Valley School District.
• Tooth BUDDS is a group of Affiliated Practice Dental Hygienists who serve the children of Graham and Greenlee Counties by providing dental screenings, dental cleanings, sealants, fluoride varnish, Silver Diamine Fluoride applications and S.M.A.R.T restorations free of charge at the convenience of their school location.
• A New Leaf Healthy Smiles for Life provides dental hygiene education and supplies for preschool to high school age children from low-income, underserved, and un/under-insured households.
• Children’s Museum of Phoenix’s “Back to School” Dental Hygiene Support Program engages 22,000 children (ages 0-10) and their caregivers each summer in activities designed to foster good oral health habits and extend our commitment to delivering dental health education to Maricopa County children.
• Esperanca’s Learning with a Smiles ends bilingual educators to provide oral health education to low-income Latino children and seniors in metropolitan Phoenix.
• Mountain Park Community Health Center Dental Care for Moms and Kids program provides no-cost, preventive dental screenings and cleanings to pregnant women as part of their prenatal care.
• River Cities United Way Happy Healthy Smiles is a program for the rural area of Mohave and La Paz counties that provides kindergarteners the hands-on oral health education.
• Southwest Human Development Oral Health Program for Children and Families is an educational program for children and families in our Healthy Families Program (home visits), Head Start/Early Head Start (classroom, community gatherings and virtual meetings) providing instruction on the importance of daily and lifelong oral health care, preventive screenings, and the importance of having a dental home.
• Tohono O’odham Nation Health Care Medical-Dental Collaboration Program is a medical-dental collaborative integrating a registered dental hygienist (RDH) into all acute and well pediatric medical visits providing dental education, screening, applying fluoride, identifying caries, and initiating silver diamine fluoride (SDF) treatment in the medical clinic.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 Delta Dental also made a $500,000 donation to Arizona’s 23 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and provided more than 30,000 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste to homeless shelters across the state,” says Barb Kozuh, director of community benefit marketing, Delta Dental of Arizona.
The full report is available online at https://www.deltadental.com/institute/community-benefit/