2024 Community Report

A Message from the CEO

Vanetta Abdellatif, President and CEO

Everybody has an oral health story. Perhaps you grew up without fluoridated water. Or you or someone you know suffered from cracked or missing teeth.

You may have heard me share my story. I was fortunate to have access to naturally fluoridated water and did not experience cavities as a small child. However, I did experience many periods without dental insurance during times when cost was a barrier to regular preventive dental care.

My experiences motivate me and inspire my work at Arcora Foundation; they are my why. Everyone across Washington state—no matter their race/ethnicity, age, gender identity, income, or other social and environmental factors—deserves access to what they need when they need it to reach their full health potential. You—dental and medical professionals, policy makers, community-based organizations, local and state agencies, Tribes, and committed individuals—help move our state closer to the goal of good oral and overall health for all.

In this year’s report, you will see how your partnership is essential to advance systems changes through policy advocacy, capacity building, focus on expanding prevention and access, and other work. Together, we are writing a narrative that bends the arc of oral health toward equity.

I want to thank you for being part of our story to improve oral health and create healthy smiles for all with no one left behind.

Vanetta Abdellatif
President and CEO, Arcora Foundation

Honoring partners for their commitment to oral health and equity. (left to right) State Rep. Monica Stonier and Christina Friedt Peters and Ticey Mason from Northwest Tribal Dental Support Center receive our Oral Health Hero Awards (not pictured, State Sen. June Robinson).

 Expanding access to dental care for people who face barriers. Partners and Arcora staff with the SmileMobile at Seattle/King County Clinic. 

Our Mission:
At Arcora Foundation, our mission is in our name:
to bend the arc of oral health toward equity.

Our Vision:
We share our vision with our funder, Delta Dental of Washington:
all people can enjoy good oral and overall health with no one left behind.

Program Highlights

Kids get care everywhere: ABCD and MouthMatters put children on a path to a lifetime of healthy smiles

Medical providers with Multicare Health System Spokane participate in MouthMatters Training

Medical providers with MultiCare Health Systems Spokane participate in a MouthMatters training.

Arcora Foundation works with public and private partners to ensure Apple Health (Medicaid)-insured children can access dental care where and when they need it. This includes in dental offices through Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) and medical offices through MouthMatters. We are better and do better together.  

In October, the leadership for ABCD and MouthMatters gathered to deepen their commitment to children’s oral health. They welcomed Dr. Sarah Vander Beek—Washington State Health Care Authority’s (HCA) dental director—to the leadership team along with other leaders from the HCA, University of Washington School of Dentistry, the Washington State Dental Association, the state’s Women, Infant, and Children Program, Washington State Dental Hygiene Association, and Arcora. Dr. Susan Fisher-Owens—an expert in medical-dental integration—reinforced in her keynote address that both dental and medical teams are necessary to increase access to care and support good oral health from an early age.  

Established in 2007, the leadership team plays a crucial role to guide and ensure the success of ABCD and MouthMatters. This was their first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic. Together, the leadership team and providers and partners across the state are making healthy smiles possible for children now and into the future.

“After the training I definitely am more cognizant of oral health and more proactive about it. I feel more comfortable now after the training to screen, provide the service, and explain to parents why it’s important. I found the training so helpful.”

 -Pollyanna Lam, MD, MouthMatters-trained physician 

Children from the Tri-Cities participate in oral health screenings.

ABCD is a public-private partnership of Arcora, Washington State Health Care Authority, providers, and others that connects Apple Health (Medicaid) insured children from birth up to age 6 and children with special health care needs through age 13 with specially-trained dentists in their communities.


MouthMatters is a systems approach to help medical providers successfully implement preventive oral health services into well child visits. 

Learn more about ABCD at ABCD-dental.org, learn more about MouthMatters at ArcoraFoundation.org

A commitment to strengthen the dental workforce though lifelong learning

Providers succeed when they have the resources to help improve patients’ oral and overall health. That’s why Arcora Foundation offers continuing dental education (CDE) courses in a variety of formats, taught by experts. These 2 we launched at the 2023 Pacific Northwest Dental Conference (PNDC) are among our latest:  

  • Introduction to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Dental Office – What it Is and Why it Matters. It teaches the basics of diversity, equity, and inclusion, culturally appropriate care, and how to apply these learnings in a dental office. 
  • Care, Compassion, and Connection: Delivering Culturally Appropriate Care in the Dental Office, a discussion-based course that teaches dental providers to successfully care for patients of various backgrounds.  

In 2024, look for the DEI course—which meets a state requirement that all health care professionals take a health equity course beginning this year—on Arcora’s online learning library. We’ll offer the culturally appropriate care course in-person to dental professionals across the state.  

(Left to right) GinLin Woo—equity trainer for government, community based organizations, and nonprofits—and Dr. Doug Jackson—University of Washington School of Dentistry’s associate dean of equity, diversity and inclusion partnered with Arcora to develop the trainings.

92 participants in courses launched at PNDC

  • 88% said the courses motivated them to learn and do more to understand oral health disparities a great deal or a lot.  
  • 80% said they intend to make changes based on what they learned. 

LIN partners learn together to strengthen communities

A desire to reduce health disparities—including in oral health—sparked the formation of Smile Spokane. More than 6 years later, Smile Spokane—our first Local Impact Network (LIN)—has become a model for convening committed community partners to improve oral and overall health. Here’s how our other LINs—North Sound and Pierce County—have built on that leadership: 

  • Through mobile or school-based dental clinics, North Sound partners—East Whatcom Dental Days, San Juan Mobile, Oak Harbor Dental Integration Mobile, San Juan Sealant, Best Dental Help School Sealant—had nearly 1,150 unique visits from adults and children for screenings, sealants, or other oral health services. 
  • Through monthly mobile dental clinics, partners in Pierce County provided emergency dental care for 42 adults and preventive dental screenings for 82 children at the Sumner Food Bank—a partnership with MultiCare, Sumner Food Bank, Medical Teams International, Lindquist Dental, and DentistLink. 

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to come together in-person with Arcora and LIN partners from across the state. These gatherings allow us to align across regions, easily discuss challenges and generate new ideas, and create a safe space to strengthen bonds, all of which accelerates our progress toward achieving oral health equity.” 

-Lisa Shoni, North Sound ACH 

In November, representatives from the LINs and Arcora Foundation staff met to deepen relationships and share challenges and successes. We’re proud of our continued partnerships with our LINs. 

$900,000 investment in all 3 LINs:

  • North Sound.
  • Smile Spokane.
  • Pierce County.

Promotion of alternatives to sugary beverages finds sweet success

(Left to right) Melissa Martinez from Arcora with Gabi Guerrero from Pacific Islander Health Board and Delta Dental of Washington Tooth Fairy Jen enjoy sparkling water instead of sugary beverages at Asia Pacific Cultural Center’s 2023 Lunar New Year celebration.

Sweetened beverage consumption is among the leading causes of cavities among children and adults. Our Native and Pacific Islander populations experience some of the highest rates of tooth decay. That’s why Arcora Foundation continues to work with Pacific Islander and Native partners to co-create solutions that lead to healthy smiles.

From our work with the Pacific Islander Health Board, they now provide alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages and educational materials at community events. These efforts led to broader conversations about the effect sugar sweetened beverages can have on diabetes and other issues.

Building on what we learned from Pacific Islander partners, we engaged in similar work with our Native partners at the Swinomish and Tulalip tribes’ clinics. Focus groups that Tahoma Peak Solutions—a Native-woman owned firm—led resulted in culturally appropriate strategies and plans to bring stakeholders together to work toward solutions.

Find healthy behavior messaging and resources for your community.

Investments in Washington’s communities

$2.7 million in grants and sponsorships

Systems change is our long-term strategy. One of our approaches is capacity building through investments. These investments support oral disease prevention, access to care expansion, policy advocacy, and more.

Legislative action brings sustainable systems changes

Gov. Inslee signs HB 1251 into law. (left to right) Arcora President and CEO Vanetta Abdellatif, Delta Dental of Washington Policy Analyst Arwa Dubad, State Rep. Monica Stonier—HB 1251 prime sponsor and a long-time oral health champion—then-Washington State Dental Association Director of Government Affairs Emily Lovell, Arcora Senior Program Manager Stacy Torrance and Stephen Baker—a retired water treatment operator advisor with the State Department of Health and fluoridation champion.

Historically under-resourced communities and oral health had big wins during the 2023 legislative session. Arcora Foundation and our partners worked together to secure funding in the 2023-2025 state operating budget to:

  • Continue the public-private partnership for DentistLink, the no-cost dental referral service to connect people, mostly Apple Health (Medicaid)-insured or uninsured, with a local dental provider.
  • Increase pediatric Apple Health provider reimbursement rates for dental cleanings.
  • Enhance the dental benefit for Apple Health enrollees with diabetes.

For the first time in 20 years, lawmakers passed community water fluoridation legislation. HB 1251 requires at least a 90 day public notice before a decision to start or stop fluoridation. This legislation ensures residents—as well as their dental and medical providers—have timely and accurate information about a decision that affects their health and wellbeing. Fluoridation is an effective and equitable way to prevent tooth decay. Special thanks to prime sponsor State Rep. Monica Stonier—and State Sen. June Robinson who championed the bill in the Senate—and the many oral health providers, medical providers, and patient and community advocates who made this success possible.

371,000 people and $101 million

From 2001 through 2023, Arcora has worked with our partners to ensure an additional 371,000 people in Washington state received the health benefits of fluoridated water—saving Washington taxpayers an estimated $101 million.

“Tooth decay is preventable and the number one disease that our children have to deal with…Parents and dental professionals should participate in the discussion [about community water fluoridation] before a final decision is made…It’s the right thing to do for families and communities.”

– Dr. Elizabeth Warder, Dental Director at CHAS Health (From March 10, 2023 testimony from the State Senate & Long-Term Care Committee supporting HB 1251)

Teaching and learning central to Native collaborative for children’s oral health

The Northwest Tribal Dental Support Center (NTDSC)—a project at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) since 2000—continues innovative work to improve oral health in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. The NTDSC, 15 dental programs from the Northwest tribes, and Arcora Foundation recently launched Wee Smile—a tribal collaborative focused on minimally invasive/maximally effective dentistry, which aims to improve the oral health of AI/AN children through age 5. Participating tribes work to increase access to care, reduce diseases, and improve patient satisfaction. The collaborative’s motto is everyone teaches, and everyone learns. Members share clinical protocols and practices, trust-building techniques, and other strategies to provide the best care to AI/AN children in their communities. Wee Smile builds on a similar collaborative for adults. We’re excited to continue learning from our tribal partners—and occasionally teaching them, too.

“Wee Smile combines innovative practices and cultural knowledge to promote health and healing. Prior to colonization, AI/AN communities did not have the health disparities they do now. Oral health care is not free to AI/AN communities, but rather paid for by ceded land and a treaty right. Our AI/AN communities deserve the best oral health care. We have very committed oral health providers who are part of Wee Smile who care deeply about their communities. Together, we are aiming to make a difference.”

Ticey Mason, Director of Northwest Tribal Dental Support Center and Citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Learn more about our collaborative work with Tribal partners.

DentistLink helps connect people to care with translation and interpretation 


Daysi Mayer—a Promotora de Salud in Island County—advocates for culturally appropriate care for her patients. That includes resources available in Spanish. She praises DentistLink’s Spanish-speaking staff and the availability of information in Spanish. “Having information in Spanish helps my clients, and the four providers here in Island County have bilingual personnel at their practices, which makes appointments smooth.” More than 200 Spanish speaking individuals worked directly with our referral specialists to find dental care in their community. Our referral specialists also ensure that clients are aware that Apple Health (Medicaid) covers translation services. DentistLink—a no-cost referral service that connects people to dental care in their communities whether they have insurance, including Apple Health, or not—strives to bridge these gaps and empowers people to access dental care when and where they need it. Arcora Foundation and the Washington State Health Care Authority fully fund DentistLink.

Learn more about DentistLink at DentistLink.org.

65,000 Referrals

More than 65,000 users received unique referrals to care through DentistLink.

A nearly decade-long SmileMobile partnership delivers hundreds of healthy smiles

Paschal Sherman Indian School is on the Colville Reservation in Okanogan County. It serves the 12 tribes in the area—among them the Colville, the Nespelem, the San Poil, the Lakes tribes—and instructs some 175 students ranging from kindergarten through the 9th grade. 

When the SmileMobile arrives at Paschal Sherman Indian School (PSIS), students get excited. Since 2016, they’ve enthusiastically welcomed Arcora Foundation’s dental clinic on wheels twice a year for exams, fluoride varnish, sealants, and simple restorative work. To build trust and consistency among students and staff, the same dental team—Dr. Paul Phillips, clinic manager Monika Foro, and registered dental assistant Sandi Walker—visits the school. Over the years, the team has served hundreds of students and developed relationships. They’re committed to improve the health and smiles of students and connect them to follow up care. 

(Left to right) Paul Phillips, DDS, SmileMobile clinic manager Monika Foro, and Paschal Sherman Indian School nurse Ben Swartsel. 

Smile Mobile

“Healthy students have the best opportunity to learn, and a healthy student starts with a healthy mouth. We have been fortunate to partner with the SmileMobile to give our students that opportunity.”

-Ben Swartsel, RN, School Nurse, Paschal Sherman Indian School

1,400+ Patients

In 2023, the SmileMobile served more than 1,400 patients at 32 clinics and 3 community events. The dental team provided nearly 698 patient referrals to local dentists, the ABCD program, and DentistLink for ongoing or specialty care.

Learn more about the SmileMobile and opportunities for your community.

Arcora Foundation Trustees

Andrew Lofton, MUP
Board Chair

Scott Kennedy, MD

Brenden Davis, DMD, MPH
Programs Committee Chair

MaryAnne Lindeblad, BSN, MPH
Public Policy and Communications Committee Chair

Carmen Méndez
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair

Matt Morton, MEd
Finance and Governance Committee Chair

Ji Choi, DDS
Foundation Trustee

Rachael Hogan, DDS
Foundation Trustee

Mark Mitchke
President and CEO, Delta Dental of Washington

Carol Nelson
Delta Dental of Washington Board Vice Chair

Diane Oakes
Chief Mission Officer, Delta Dental of Washington

Eve Rutherford, DDS
Delta Dental of Washington Board Chair

Kimberly A.C. Wilson
Foundation Trustee

New Trustee for 2024

Anna Franklin
Foundation Trustee

Past Community Reports