Successful oral health outcomes begin with being able to access oral health care. This initiative addresses barriers around access and utilization in two Colorado communities that experience high rates of poverty and limited access to quality oral health care. Through an in-depth data analysis with the Colorado Health Institute and examination of foundation grantees, the San Luis Valley and the East Metro communities have been selected as the focus of our efforts.
Every community has unique assets and challenges. Our place-based initiative aims to work with these communities to develop long-term relationships, partnerships, resources, and solutions crafted to fit their needs. We hope to build better, innovative systems for access to quality oral health care.
San Luis Valley: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties.
East Denver metro: Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Swansea, Elyria, Globeville, and/or Northwest Aurora (generally: North Aurora, Hoffman Heights/Jewell Heights, and Fitzsimmons neighborhoods).
- Only 58% of people living in the San Luis Valley visited a dentist in the past 12 months, compared to 74% statewide.
- Of the people living in the San Luis Valley, 32% don’t have dental insurance as compared to 25% of people statewide.
- When asked to rate their oral health, 29% of people in the San Luis Valley report fair/poor oral health as compared to 18% statewide.
- In the east Denver metro region, 32% of residents are enrolled in Medicaid.
- In the Montbello neighborhood, 90% of residents identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color, and more than 12% of residents live at 100% of the federal poverty level.
- In Denver County, 14% of residents live at or below the federal poverty level (FPL). For low-income people there are many barriers to accessing oral health. Only 64% of people living below 100% of FPL visited a dentist in the last year.