10 Years of Bringing Smiles and Improving the Health of Iowans
The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation was established in 2007 and made its first gift in 2008 with the commitment to The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics for their transformation campaign. The mission of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation is to support and improve the oral health of Iowans.
The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has two long-term goals by 2020 for Iowa kids to be free of cavities and Iowa’s aging population to have access to dental care. The Foundation is on a mission to accomplish these goals by providing access to dental care for these populations, support community water fluoridation, focus on education and prevention, and fund research.
“Since 2008, Delta Dental has awarded more than $16.5 million to support and improve the oral health of Iowans through our Foundation,” said Jeff Russell, president of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “As a not-for-profit insurance company, Delta Dental invests roughly half of our profits back into the Foundation.”
To celebrate the Foundation’s 10 years of giving, here are 10 ways the Foundation continues to improve the oral and overall health of Iowans:
- School-Based Sealant Programs – Delta Dental partnered with the Iowa Department of Public Health to expand their school-based sealant program. Since 2013, more than $1 million has been invested to expand this program in 93 Iowa counties – that’s a lot of cavity protection!
- Lifelong Smiles Coalition – This coalition was formed in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics and Iowa CareGivers. Since 2014, more than $1.5 million has been donated to advance oral health for aging Iowans.
- The University of Iowa Geriatric and Special Needs Clinic – The Foundation’s first major gift was $1.5 million to The University of Iowa to renovate the Dental Science Building and expand access to the clinic for treating elderly, mentally, physically and medically complex patients.
- Community Health Centers – Provided $2.4 million to community health centers for equipment grants and facility expansions to provide needed dental services across the state.
- Dentist by 1TM – On average, Iowa children don’t visit the dentist until age 3, when it is recommend that they go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth appears. The Dentist by 1 public service campaign encourages parents and physicians to get more Iowa babies to the dentist to start a lifetime of healthy smiles.
- Toothbrushes - Since 2008, 1.5 million toothbrushes along with oral health education have been donated throughout all 99 counties of Iowa to Iowa schools, clinics, hospitals, I-Smile coordinators and Head Starts.
- Rethink Your Drink – This program provides water bottle filling stations in Iowa schools. Today, more than 115 schools have water bottle filling stations helping encourage Iowa children to drink tap water over sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Supporting Community Water Fluoridation – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water fluoridation is one of the top public health initiatives of the 20th century. Working with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Delta Dental provides funding to maintain and support optimally fluoridated of public water systems.
- Advancing Oral Health Research – Throughout the last 10 years, Delta Dental has supported oral health research at The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics such as the Iowa Fluoride Study, which began with an overall goal of examining how fluoride benefits children and adults and prevents cavities.
- Cavity Free Iowa – The goal of this program is to increase the awareness and improve the oral and overall health for young children under the age of 3 in a medical setting.
In 2018, the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation awarded more than $2.3 million to Iowa non-profits to improve the oral and overall health of Iowans. Organizations wishing to apply for funding can go to deltadentalia.com/foundation in January to apply for 2019 funding.