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Insights, innovation and Indigenous identities


A recent NPR segment highlights the important role of dental therapists in improving dental care access in the U.S. The interview features Dr. Beth Mertz of the University of California, San Francisco and her research findings that health equity is a driving force for dental therapy. Dental therapists work as part of the dental team providing education, prevention and some of the most common dental procedures. This workforce model was first brought to the U.S. by Tribal leaders in Alaska, to provide much-needed dental care. Building for more than a decade, today’s dental therapy movement continues through the National Partnership for Dental Therapy.


The New Orleans Food Policy Action Council, supported by WKKF, recently released a study highlighting how farm-to-early care and education (ECE) programs can cultivate equitable food systems and boost child well-being. Published by the Louisiana Public Health Association, the study highlights survey findings from more than 100 child care center providers across the state. The study provides valuable insights and future direction to support the implementation of farm-to-ECE activities. The study shows that addressing barriers and offering training opportunities can nurture healthier, more resilient communities and foster positive early childhood development outcomes.


Alejandra Sasil Sánchez Chan works to revitalize Indigenous languages in her roles with WKKF grantees Rising Voices and Solyluna. She recently won the 2024 Waldemar Noh Tzec International Prize for Poetry of the Maya World for her work “Lu’um” (Earth). The prize, which honors Mayan language writers from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, includes a diploma, a monetary reward and publication of her work by the Mexican state of Campeche’s Ministry of Culture.


At the Mackinac Policy Conference, Yazeed Moore, WKKF director of Michigan Programs, hosted a panel with an esteemed group of contributors. They discussed how offering support to some communities doesn’t need to be a detriment to others and explored how prioritizing racial equity in proposed growth plans will lead to sustainable developments in Michigan that will ultimately benefit all families and businesses in the state.

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