Dental disease is one of Oregon’s most pressing public health problems. As a study by the Oregon Department of Human Services notes, “the majority of Oregonians — poor or rich, female or male, old or young, whatever their race or ethnicity — suffer from oral disease.” The causes of this silent epidemic include inadequate education and prevention, lack of supplies, and a shortage of providers serving low-income people.
Left untreated, this preventable disease can be devastating to lifelong health, educational success, productivity and self-image. It’s also been linked with serious illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
To address this statewide health crisis, OCF joined with other funders to host the Open Wide Summit for Oral Health Funders on May 9, 2011. As a result of this summit, the Oral Health Funders Collaborative was formally established in September 2011. In addition to OCF, funders include The Dental Foundation of Oregon, The Ford Family Foundation, Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington, Kaiser Permanente, Northwest Health Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Providence Health & Services, Samaritan Health Services, Washington Dental Service Foundation and Cambia Health Foundation. The Collaborative appreciates the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Oregon and Southwest Washington from 2011 to 2014.
To date, more than 30 regional foundations and charitable organizations have participated in meetings and events. Through this cooperative approach, grantmakers are sharing information, pooling resources, and coordinating efforts to identify, advocate and invest in oral health solutions. The Collaborative’s goals include:
Raising awareness of oral disease among funders and community leaders in Oregon and Southwest Washington
Increasing knowledge of best practices to prevent oral disease for all ages
Investing in data collection and analysis to quantify the true social and economic cost of oral disease in Oregon and Southwest Washington
In spring 2013, members of the steering committee began working with Oregon Oral Health Coalition to develop a new strategic plan for improving oral health in Oregon. The resulting Strategic Plan for Oral Health in Oregon: 2014-2020 was released on October 3, 2014.
Funders are welcome to join the Collaborative. For more information, please contact: