Tribal Partnerships

Native-led organizations and tribes partner with Arcora Foundation to improve Native People’s oral health.

Larry Campbell, Swinomish Tribe, speaks at Elders Collaborative.

Arcora Foundation is proud to partner with and support Northwest tribes and Native-led organizations, leaders in designing culturally appropriate, patient-centered health care. Together, we develop and implement innovative models that improve the oral health of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.  

American Indian and Alaska Native people experience significant disparities in the prevalence of oral disease. But it wasn’t always that way. According to Pam Ready—a member of the Puyallup Tribe, registered dental hygienist, and dental health aide education manager with Northwest Portland Area Indian Board—American Indian and Alaska Native people had the best oral health in the world before colonization.

Arcora—in partnership with the Northwest Tribal Dental Support Center (NTDSC)—developed and implemented a variety of strategies, initiatives, and programs—including Baby Teeth Matter, a collaborative to increase access to care for young American Indian and Alaska Native children—to address these disparities. Arcora and the NTDSC also launched an Elders Collaborative to: 

  • Improve elders’ oral health. 
  • Support elders as oral health ambassadors and teachers in their communities. 

More than half of tribal and urban Indian dental programs in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon participate in these collaboratives. 

Arcora also collaborates with tribes and Native-led organizations to: 

  • Expand tribal and urban Indian dental programs to care for more people. 
  • Provide training, resources, and technical assistance to tribal medical and dental teams, Head Start and child care providers, elder programs, and other groups. 
  • Provide financial and technical support to tribes interested in fluoridating their water supplies.  
  • Partner with tribal health departments and schools to bring the SmileMobile—Arcora’s mobile dental clinic—to tribal communities. 
  • Partner with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board to support dental health aide therapy (DHAT) training and program capacity building to ensure American Indian and Alaska Native people  can access efficient, effective, culturally appropriate dental care. 
Young patient sits in dental chair.

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. To learn more about our tribal partnerships, contact Sarah Borgida at sborgida@arcorafoundation.org