Advancing Equity Through Oral Health Fund

We are driving oral health transformation through grantmaking and advocacy that support efforts to dismantle unjust structures and systems that drive disparities across oral health.

Advancing Health Equity Fund illustration

Four Strategies Driving Our Funding

federal policy

Drive Federal Oral Health Policy

Oral health stakeholders have made significant progress toward an aligned federal oral health policy agenda. CareQuest Institute staff and strategic advisors are collaborating with key partners to identify one or more federal oral health policy priorities based on a myriad of shifting environmental factors. In 2022, the grantmaking areas will focus on new and ongoing opportunities to impact federal health and oral health policy, including, but not limited to, adding a comprehensive dental benefit in Medicare. Through high-impact partnerships with key national players, including the Medicare Oral Health Coalition and its members, CareQuest Institute will continue to position itself for timely, collaborative opportunities, shared legislative engagement strategies, and new partnerships to equitably increase the voices at the table.  

Connection to Social Determinants of Health 

Our interest is to elevate partners and communities that represent new and historically underrepresented voices in federal oral health policy.  

The Institute is also interested in community-driven policy efforts that may not be explicitly related to oral health, but rather take an intersectional approach to developing solutions that address health inequity (i.e., social determinants of health, political drivers of health, social risk factors, etc.). Good oral health care goes beyond the walls of a dentist’s office and our systems change focus is not limited in this way either. In addition to showing a connection to an engaged community and interest in advancing policy through advocacy, opportunities that are not explicitly related to oral health will need to clearly demonstrate a connection to improved oral health.  

advocacy

Strengthen Community Voice and State Advocacy

For CareQuest Institute, we believe the incorporation/inclusion of community voice in driving policy and systems change is a foundational dimension that should exist throughout our grantmaking strategy. Traditionally, underserved communities are often left out of discourse and decision-making as it relates to their local community’s health and health care needs. However, when the voices of historically marginalized communities exist in spaces where decisions are made, powerful and positive disruption can and does occur.   

Over time, CareQuest Institute’s commitment to grantmaking strategies that prioritize that voices from marginalized communities to drive policy and systems change has only strengthened. In 2022, local and state-based organizations that use a health and racial equity lens and actively engage community voices to lead policy advocacy efforts will have the opportunity to apply for funding through this area. 

Connection to Social Determinants of Health 

The Institute is also interested in community-driven policy efforts that may not be explicitly related to oral health, but rather take an intersectional approach (social determinants of health, political drivers of health, social risk factors, etc.). In addition to showing a connection to an engaged community and interest in advancing new models of care, for opportunities that are not explicitly related to oral health, applicants will need to clearly demonstrate a connection to improved oral health. 

learning models

Spread Learning Models to the Broader Safety Net

CareQuest Institute has a long and deep commitment to supporting the broad integration of oral health into primary care within the safety net. Through historic grantmaking initiatives and programs such as Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net (SOHSN), the National Oral Health Innovation and Integration Network, and MORE Care, we have sought to demonstrate the unique and powerful role that the safety net can play in advancing oral health value-based care. In more recent years, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CareQuest Institute launched the Community Oral Health Transformation (COrHT) Initiative which now serves as a learning community for the implementation of medical-dental integration and value-based oral health care. The COrHT Initiative brings together stakeholders that believe healthy people and healthy communities are interconnected, oral diseases are systemic, and a transformation of health care is necessary for quality of life. 

At the same time, there is variation in the degree to which any state’s policy and regulatory environment acts as a catalyst for care that is focused on value, rather than volume. Our hope is that deeper capacity within the safety net, testing and refinement of new models of integrated person-centered care, and increased opportunities for strategic leverage across states will advance a new framework for innovating oral health care. The Institute is particularly interested in opportunities to work within states or areas that have historically had less structural support, knowledge, and willpower to advance new models of care and build oral health infrastructure that is conducive for health transformation. 

Connection to Social Determinants of Health 

Our interest is to elevate partners and communities that represent new and historically underrepresented voices in health transformation.  

The Institute is also interested in efforts that may not be explicitly related to oral health, but rather take an intersectional approach (social determinants of health, political drivers of health, social risk factors, etc.). In addition to showing a connection to an engaged community and interest in advancing policy through advocacy, for opportunities that are not explicitly related to oral health, applicants will need to clearly demonstrate a connection to improved oral health. 

network

Support the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN)

In 2022, OPEN Inc. (the backbone organization) will build upon the infrastructural milestones reached in 2021 to support the network and strengthen its independence and collaboration. OPEN (the broader network) is uniquely positioned in the oral health field as a resource for oral health advocates and is an extensive mechanism for spreading and scaling new ideas and strategies. Through grantmaking and internal collaborations, 2022 will bring about a new network strategy focused on advancing the OPEN Blueprint for Structural Improvement. The Blueprint is a network action plan to rebuild the national oral health system in a way that is equitable, affordable, and accessible. To do this, OPEN will be prioritizing 5 specific system levers including: 

  • Amplifying Consumer Voices 
  • Advancing Oral Health Policy 
  • Integrating Dental and Medical 
  • Emphasizing Prevention 
  • Bringing Care to People 

The aim of the grantmaking team is to leverage the relationship with OPEN to strengthen the impact of our grantees through learning and capacity building opportunities while also leveraging the national network as a platform for spreading and scaling innovation. 

Learn more about the OPEN Blueprint for Structural Improvement  

*This funding area is intended specifically for OPEN Inc. and its fiscal agent, the National Network of Public Health Institutes. 

Looking to apply for a CareQuest Institute grant?

Learn more about the two-phase grant application process and explore current and past grants.