Community Access and Support

Reducing health disparities through community engagement


Spokane is the largest community in the state without the health benefits of community water fluoridation.  Lower-income families suffer most when fluoridated water is not available.  Working with partners who share our commitment to improve health for all, we are developing an innovative Local Impact Network (LIN) in Spokane.  The goal: reduce health disparities in Spokane County by 25 percent.  

Improving oral health through prevention, access and transformation

Through a health equity lens, the LIN applies the strategic framework of the Arcora Foundation (prevention, access and transformation) into a place-based initiative.

This health equity work will focus on seven anchor strategies:

  1. Community care coordination 
  2. Improved opioid prescription practices  
  3. Oral health integration into all primary care clinics
  4. Increased access to dental services by 200 percent for people enrolled in Medicaid and seniors 
  5. School sealant programs in all schools where the majority of enrolled students are in free and reduced meal programs  
  6. Co-locate primary care, behavioral health, and oral health on a supportive housing campus 
  7. Community education to promote healthy behaviors

Investing in whole person health

The LIN builds on momentum created through the Healthier Washington initiative and changes in healthcare financing.  Increasingly healthcare is focused on outcomes and delivering value. This means keeping people healthy, rather than waiting to treat them after they are already sick.  This trend toward prevention and whole person care creates opportunities and incentives to ensure that preventing oral disease is a priority, particularly for high-risk patients such as pregnant women and people with diabetes. In 2017, the Foundation will invest $1.2 million toward this Spokane effort and will leverage additional investments from community partners.

Smile Spokane, a local advocacy organization, provides the backbone support for the LIN with input from the Spokane Oral Health Coalition and a clinical advisory team. The Spokane Regional Health District will provide data and evaluation.  Other partners include Providence, Frontier Behavioral Health, Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) and Communities in Schools.

To get involved in Spokane or explore this type of work in another Washington community, contact Maureen Finneran.

Are you a dental provider who wants to be involved with the LIN? Contact Karen Davis, Provider Network Manager.