Inaugural awardees include 4 organizations focused on inspiring school-aged children from historically underrepresented groups to explore careers in oral health.
The Delta Dental Institute has announced the inaugural award recipients of over $700,000 from the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund, as part of its Driving Greater Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce campaign. This initiative focuses on encouraging more school-aged children from historically underrepresented groups to consider careers in oral health.
The 4 awardees are:
The goal of these programs is to address the current lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the oral health workforce. Research has shown that increasing diversity among health professionals leads to better patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes. Currently, fewer than 10% of dentists are Black or Hispanic, while these groups comprise more than 30% of the U.S. population, according to Delta Dental.
"As the nation's oral health leader and its largest oral health philanthropist, Delta Dental embraces the opportunity to address the needs of the diverse communities we serve and to contribute to more equitable health outcomes," says James W. Hutchison, President & CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association, in a press release. "Our inaugural group of awardees will help ensure our future dental professionals more closely represent the communities they serve so that all Americans can have better oral and overall health.”
Delta Dental aims to close this diversity gap and improve health equity by investing in organizations that provide opportunities for youth from diverse communities to consider and prepare for careers in oral health. The next round of applications for the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund will open in the Spring of 2024.
"By investing in organizations that are building opportunities for youth from diverse communities to consider and prepare for a career in oral health, Delta Dental aims to close an important gap in the oral health workforce and improve health equity," Jason Daughn, Delta Dental Plans Association's Chief Public Affairs Officer on behalf of the Delta Dental Institute, adds in the press release. "We were impressed by the passion and creativity of the applicants to the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund and look forward to supporting our awardees."
The Delta Dental Institute is dedicated to advancing oral health for all Americans in partnership with Delta Dental companies and their partners nationwide. They engage in and support oral health research, community outreach, and advocacy, with the aim of ensuring that everyone understands the importance of oral health to overall health and has access to the care they need. Delta Dental Plans Association, based in Chicago, is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies and is the nation's largest dental benefits provider, covering more than 89 million Americans. Over the last decade, Delta Dental companies and their foundations have invested over $1.9 billion to improve the oral and overall health of communities.