Healthier Communities Built by Partnerships

Partnerships between public and private entities are helping people in need to maintain their health and wellness. A Fortune 250 mutual company, Guardian, is demonstrating this with two partnerships in the oral health space: one with Children’s Health Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides access to high-quality health care for children in underserved areas; and a second with Dental Lifeline Network (DLN), a charitable organization that works to improve the oral health of people living with a disability, are elderly or medically fragile. 

Paving a Path for Students to Receive Proper Oral Hygiene

Guardian and Children’s Health Fund formed the “Guardians of the Smile” national partnership to provide dental services to children, teach students about the importance of proper oral hygiene and instill good oral health habits from an early age. Formed in 2018, the partnership is supported by a $1 million grant by Guardian to Children’s Health Fund. Together, the organizations have funded thousands of much-needed oral health encounters across the country, hosted interactive events for children in New York City, Dallas, Austin, and Phoenix, and launched a statewide oral health education program with Scholastic in Pennsylvania. The partners also created a mascot, “Tooth Guardian,” who attends events and helps teaches kids how to care for their teeth in a fun and interactive way. 

“Guardians of the Smile” goes beyond oral hygiene and is helping improve outcomes for children and young people in the classroom. In January 2017, Children’s Health Fund identified dental pain as one of the critical “Health Barriers to Learning,” a list of preventable health issues that are proven to have a negative impact on academic performance if not treated. Additionally, a report by authored by Children’s Health Fund states that rates of missing school are higher among children with toothaches, poor access to dental care, and lower oral health status.

“Our approach to children’s health is holistic, and working with parents and caregivers to promote good oral health practices at an early age is essential to a child’s overall health,” said Dennis Walto, Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Health Fund. “Our efforts to ensure the whole child is healthy are strengthened by our partnership with Guardian. With their support, we are not only providing much needed access to dental services, but we are also providing engaging and fun programming that teaches children the importance of oral health and builds good oral hygiene practices that will benefit them all through life.” 

Increasing Access to Critical Dental Care for Those in Need

In an effort to broaden its reach and provide access to quality dental care across underserved groups, Guardian is also partnering with DLN to provide comprehensive dental care to individuals living with disabilities, are elderly, medically fragile and U.S. military veterans. These individuals are uninsured and suffer from dental diseases that make eating and communicating difficult. The partnership is focused on reaching this population in Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. 

“Our goal as one of the leading commercial and government dental insurance providers is to provide the most vulnerable communities with access to quality dental services,” said Chris Swanker, CEO, Avēsis, a Guardian Company.

Through a grant from Guardian, DLN is ramping up its volunteer dentist recruitment efforts as well as staffing to treat individuals who suffer from serious dental issues in the targeted states throughout 2019. For example, the funds will help support DLN’s Will You See One campaign, which targets dentists with the powerful message that volunteer dentists have the capacity to not only provide donated dental care but to change lives within their community—sometimes in a life-saving way. Through its flagship Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, DLN provides comprehensive dental care through a national network of 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,700 volunteer laboratories. 

“Guardian’s support of Dental Lifeline Network is a gamechanger for the organization and the people with special needs that we help,” said Fred Leviton, CEO, Dental Lifeline Network. “In addition to funding services last year to help hundreds of people in Washington State, Guardian’s 2019 gift will support our volunteer dentists and labs in Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia that contribute life-changing and life-saving treatment for hundreds more of vulnerable individuals.”

Guardian, Children’s Health Fund, and Dental Lifeline Network will be speaking on a panel at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Ignite Wellness Summit on June 26 and 27 in Washington D.C. The summit will focus on how the private sector disrupts, revolutionizes, and inspires to improve the well-being of society through external initiatives and innovative partnerships. During the panel, Children’s Health Fund, DLN, and Guardian will share best practices and key insights into their partnership to help other organizations on similar journeys. 

Guardian’s partnerships with Children’s Health Fund and DLN are bridging the gap of resources and access to quality care in order to help eliminate health obstacles and enable individuals to lead productive lives. Through partnerships such as these, communities around the country are one step closer to receiving the care they need, giving children and families alike a reason to smile.

[Editor’s Note: Guardian recently spoke on a panel at the Ignite Wellness Summit. Learn more about the Summit here.]