Bulletin of Dental Education

Grant Helps Pacific University Mitigate COVID-19 Threat in Underrepresented Communities

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The School of Dental Hygiene Studies at Pacific University received a $60,000 Health Equity Grant from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The OHA received $45 million of Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) prioritizing tribal communities and communities of color in Oregon to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its effects. The disparate health and economic impact the virus has on these communities is driven by the systemic health inequities experienced as a result of social determinants of health.

The School of Dental Hygiene Studies at Pacific University serves primarily Latinx patients who most often do not have access to dental care. They encounter barriers, such as lack of insurance, transportation, the inability to take time off work, poverty, and limited English-language skills. They experience a disproportionate amount of positive COVID-19 cases, and also a disproportionate amount of dental disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this population, generally speaking, has the poorest oral health among most other racial and ethnic groups in the United States.1 

CRF funds will be used to help continue the mission of the School of Dental Hygiene Studies at Pacific University to provide dental care to Oregon’s Latinx population by providing the supplies necessary to continue services in the SmileCare Everywhere mobile van (a mobile clinic that provides dental care in migrant communities and agricultural areas), our local dental hygiene clinic in Hillsboro, OR, and continue the education of future dental hygienists.


  1. Disparities in Oral Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed August 27, 2020. www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/index.html

Published on November 11, 2020

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