Northwest Colorado Health among 29 nonprofits to receive portion of $3.4 million in support of dental programs | CraigDailyPress.com

Northwest Colorado Health among 29 nonprofits to receive portion of $3.4 million in support of dental programs

Craig Press staff report

A patient receives dental treatment at a Northwest Colorado Health dental clinic.

CRAIG — Creating better access to dental care in Colorado is among the goals of a new effort by Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation.

Over a three-year period, DDCOF will provide $3.4 million to 29 Colorado nonprofits — including Northwest Colorado Health — to support projects designed to advance oral health equity in local communities.

“Social determinants – such as race and ethnicity, income, geography and age –  impact Coloradans' oral health and their ability to access regular dental care,” according to a news release from DDCOF officials.

Northwest Colorado Health received support to hire a bilingual dental care coordinator to implement outreach strategies to increase the number of patients accessing care. 

"Our inaugural open funding created an opportunity for organizations to share what they needed to improve health in their communities. The 62 applications submitted revealed a significant need for dedicated oral health funding statewide," said Allison Cusick, executive director of DDCOF.

Grantees were selected based on their service to historically overlooked populations and their significant oral health disparities. They also demonstrated proven or innovative solutions to overcome barriers to oral health care or the prevention of tooth decay, two of the foundation's strategic focus areas.

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Of the 29 grantees, 14 are in urban areas of Colorado, 11 in rural areas, and four provide services statewide.

 "According to the Colorado Health Institute, just 63 percent of low-income Coloradans report good physical and oral health,” Cusick said. “Thousands of Coloradans live in dental health professional shortage areas. Disparities like these result in oral health inequities.

“By funding innovative projects designed to improve community oral health, we will better understand what Coloradans need to be healthy and help achieve the foundation's mission of advancing oral health equity."