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Applauding community-led efforts to improve oral health in New Mexico

Dana Linnane

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Congratulations to the many voices of the people of New Mexico who play an important role in a community-driven effort to improve the oral health of all those in the state who cannot get dental care in their communities. 

We are honored to recognize New Mexico’s community coalitions – of dentists, hygienists, faith-based leaders, Tribes, businesses and the many others who have worked tirelessly to explore bringing a new mid-level dental provider to New Mexico. Community voice has led the charge for keeping dental care a priority for decision makers throughout the state, where unfortunately, today, too many people can’t get dental care where they live.

New Mexico communities have made tremendous progress. They are on the leading edge of a movement to add innovative mid-level providers to the dental team and transform the dental care delivery system. Through education and building public awareness, the people of New Mexico have an increased understanding of the full potential of what innovative workforce models can do for the oral health care crisis in the state.

Dental therapy is a model first brought to the U.S. by Alaska Native leaders; worldwide, dental therapists are commonly recognized as seen through their  practice in more than 50 other countries. In the U.S., dental therapists are also authorized to practice in Minnesota and Maine.  Seven states put forward legislation and dozens of Tribes filed resolutions this year supporting dental therapists.

The New York Times cites dental therapy as one of the big social innovations for change to watch in 2015. 

Since 1930, the Kellogg Foundation has supported community efforts to improve oral health care for children and their families. We believe this community coalition will continue to harness the voices of the people of New Mexico next year, to assure the dental crisis is no longer a silent epidemic.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

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