Ensuring that our community has equitable access to dental health care is an important aspect of our work. We know that, regardless of age, individuals with less income experience oral disease at disproportionately high rates. Ailments such as cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease can cause pain, lead community members to miss school or work, and often have a tremendous impact on a person’s overall wellbeing. However, according to the Snohomish County Health Department’s 2022 Community Health Assessment, students from most BIPOC communities have less access to annual dental visits than their white peers.
To help reduce these inequities, Verdant Health Commission provides support to community dental providers, including Lahai Health and Community Health Center of Snohomish County (CHC). As a federally qualified health center, CHC offers services on a sliding scale and helps eligible patients connect to financial assistance programs when necessary. CHC responds to the need for emergency dental services by providing walk-in appointments at six different locations throughout the county. After treating a patient’s emergent concern, CHC also helps individuals establish access to more consistent dental care.
Another important aspect of CHC’s work is their commitment to developing strong teams of skilled dental providers. As with many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic caused major workforce disruptions in the dentistry field. Through strong partnerships with local dentistry programs—including the University of Washington School of Dentistry and Lake Washington Technical College’s Hygiene Program—CHC clinics have become training sites for future dental professionals.
To learn more about Community Health Center of Snohomish County’s work, visit them online at https://www.chcsno.org/.