To keep you up to date with the progress of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, we sat down with Suzanne Heckenlaible, the Executive Director, to ask her a few questions.
Tell us a little bit about the history of the Foundation.
As a not-for-profit, Delta Dental invests in oral health projects through our Public Benefit Program and the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. These projects focus on oral health prevention, education, access to care and research. The Foundation was officially started in 2007. Since Delta Dental began its Public Benefit Program in 2002, more than $10.2 million has been invested in oral health improvement projects throughout Iowa.
One of the signature programs of the Public Benefit Program is the Dental Education Loan Repayment Program. This program provides up to $50,000 for dental education debt for dentists that agree to practice in underserved areas of Iowa. In return for the grant, the dentist is required to allocate up to 35 percent of patient care to underserved populations such as the elderly, indigent, Medicaid and uninsured. Since this program began in 2002, 19 dentists have been placed in rural Iowa and performed more than 162,256 procedures on 48,457 patients.
What is the mission of the Foundation?
The Foundation's mission is to support and improve the oral health of Iowans.
In 2012, the Foundation announced two, long-term strategic goals focused on Iowa children and seniors. As part of its new focus, the Foundation will direct its funding primarily to programs and investments that help support two new visionary oral health 2020 goals, which include:
1. Every Iowa child age 0-12, living in a household with an income below 300% of the federal poverty level, will be cavity-free.
2. Every Iowa nursing home resident and homebound elderly person will have access to oral health care.
Stay tuned for the 2nd half of this interview with Suzanne, coming in September!