Celebrate Black history, recognize the importance of kid’s oral health in February

February is a time for double celebration!

Black History Month honors Black people’s contributions to and place in American history. National Children’s Dental Health Month spotlights the importance of good oral health for the youngest members of our communities.

Through our equity-led initiatives and programs, Arcora Foundation is committed to improve the oral and overall health of Black people and children. We partner with policy makers, state agencies, and community-based organizations to eliminate disparities and develop sustainable solutions so everyone in Washington state can reach their full health potential with no one left behind.

Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD), community water fluoridation, DentistLink, and MouthMatters is just some of our work that addresses disparities. Learn more about our programs and initiatives.

For Black History Month and National Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re pleased to celebrate the work of our partners at Children’s Alliance—a statewide child advocacy organization. Executive Director Dr. Stephan Blanford explains what he does, why he does it, and how Arcora helps make it possible.

“I’ve been a child advocate for nearly 25 years now. Before this role I was an education researcher, an elected school board director and a direct service provider. Though it may sound cliché, I do this work to pay back all those who have invested in me and my family. And to help create Rev. [Dr. Martin Luther] King [Jr.]’s ‘beloved community.’

“Like a point guard in basketball, I coordinate the passion, energy and talents of our staff, board, partners and 7,000 members across the state to achieve wins in the state legislature. These wins come in the form of policies that improve conditions for the state’s 1.7 million children, with a specific focus on those children and their families furthest away from their vast potential.

“[Arcora] Foundation’s support allows Children’s Alliance to engage and mobilize those communities, amplifying our influence with legislators.”

Dr. Stephan Blanford, Executive Director, Children’s Alliance

“Too many Black people live at the intersection of poor oral health and other societal mistreatments—among them, poverty, residential segregation, and poorly funded schools. And all of us face the insidious impacts of individual and institutional racism. Therefore, it is so, so important that we work relentlessly to recognize and eliminate these barriers. And that we, individually and collectively, hold our leaders accountable to take action on our behalf.

“As someone who has suffered when I didn’t have dental insurance or money to pay for a dentist visit, I know personally (and painfully) what lack of access means. And as an education researcher, I know that poor oral health access can lead to a lifetime of negative consequences for students and adults, impacting every aspect of their lives. 

“Arcora Foundation recognizes how critical oral health is in the overall health of children, their families and communities. Like Children’s Alliance, they focus their efforts on communities where access to critical services is limited to ensure that all residents of those communities can access good oral care. The Foundation’s support allows Children’s Alliance to engage and mobilize those communities, amplifying our influence with legislators.”

Dr. Stephan Blanford is executive director of Children’s Alliance. The organization helps people tap into their personal political power so they can advocate for change in their communities.

We can’t do this work without you. Advancing oral health requires public and private partnerships, policy advocacy, and funding. Join us in our mission to bend the arc of oral health toward equity. Learn more and contact us at info@arcorafoundation.org.

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