Grant Project Title
Grassroots Leadership in Oral Health: Developing a California-wide, Community-Centered Care Solution
Grantee Address

Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education
1715 W Florence Ave. 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA
United States

Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE-LA) is a grassroots organization building power to create social and economic justice for low-income, immigrant, black, and brown communities in Los Angeles. Scope organizes communities, develops leaders, and builds capacity through training community residents to have an active role in shaping policy.

While SCOPE-LA has been formally organizing communities since 1993, the organization began their commitment to oral health in 2015 as a part of the Grassroots Engagement Initiative implemented by CareQuest Institute. SCOPE-LA describes that the work over these years has moved from an unorganized group of people sharing the experience of inequity in oral health to an informed, well-organized, equipped group of grassroots leaders developing the power needed to affect change. To date, the oral health team at SCOPE-LA has knocked on more than 7,600 doors, engaged 1,500 people in person, and, in 2021, surveyed more than 1,200 community members to be able to report on a broad base of quantifiable data as an advocacy tool. The success of the work thus far has resulted in substantial supplemental investments by the California Wellness Foundation whose grant funding is being leveraged to spread the movement across the state.

This proposal represents the move from base-building to an organized and intentional campaign focused on advancing legislative policy that authorizes dental therapy in California. Key components of the strategy include:

Broadening the base of Black and Brown community leaders through training and mobilization

Building opportunities for activation through the design and launch of a locally driven, statewide campaign for dental therapy.

In 2022, SCOPE-LA will develop and implement an advocacy and organizing toolkit that will pull together data from local and statewide data sets, integrate the qualitative lived experiences of communities they work with, and create a platform for new partnership development and action. Through training and toolkit implementation, SCOPE-LA will deepen the capacity of a broad base of local and statewide partners to lead the analysis of political power and design community-grounded language and messaging that can be used to engage policy makers.

Core to the work this year is expanding a relationship with the California Rural Indian Health Board who will allow for dental therapy policy efforts to move forward with both tribal and non-tribal pathways. SCOPE-LA will also partner with Community Catalyst as a strategic advisor to leverage expertise of efforts happening in other states.

SCOPE-LA also highlights in the proposal a unique window of opportunity right now through a new Heatlh Care Workforce Pilot Program in California, which could permit temporary waivers of certain healthcare practice restrictions or educational requirements so that licensing laws don’t need to be made through the legislative process. Historically, the pilot process has been proven effective for other models grown out of California such as the Virtual Dental Home.

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