Salem Health grants $25,000 to Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency

Salem Health presented a $25,000 Community Partnership Grant to Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, which will provide restorative dental care to uninsured children in Polk County.

Grant funds will be used to fund the Vouchers for Kids project through collaboration with Capitol Dental Care’s Dental Outreach Team.

Salem Health introduced the Community Partnership Grant program in Oct. 2014 and will grant a total of $306,382 in 2017. Successful initiatives improve the quality of life for those most at risk in our community and decrease the need for catastrophic care and its associated social, emotional and economic costs.

Vouchers for Kids will serve children that require restorative dental care to stabilize their oral health. Dental care can save significant back-end health care costs for children who would otherwise experience rampant tooth decay and require dental surgery or an emergency room visit. Data from a recent successful Capitol Dental Care tele-dentistry project in Polk County identified a minimum of ten percent of children as uninsured and in need of restorative care. This percentage only increases the longer preventive care needs goes unaddressed.

“It is critical that our entire community have access to quality health and dental care,” said Jon Reeves, MWVCAA Executive Director. “The dental voucher program administered by Capitol Dental Care professionals will connect children to insurance resources and needed oral health treatment.  Proactive dental care is associated with children attending more school, experiencing better school success, and utilizing less emergency resources, not to mention increasing their comfort and quality of life.”  

Over the past five years Capitol Dental Care’s Dental Outreach Team has experienced extraordinary success in meeting the oral health care needs of rural Oregonians through programs such as a mobile dental van, education and prevention for siblings of those children identified as needing General Anesthesia as a result of severe dental decay. In 2016 alone, Capitol Dental Care’s Dental Outreach program served 3,696 school children, applying 12,083 sealants.

“Strong, healthy teeth can make a huge difference in a child’s life and future,” said Sharon Heuer, Director of Community Benefit at Salem Health. “This voucher project promises to increase health equity in Polk County and we’re happy to partner with MWVCAA and Capitol Dental Care to address this very important concern in these children’s lives.”

Community Partnership Grant funding encourages innovative collaboration and engagement among community organizations that share a common vision for better health and meet community health needs identified by the Salem Health Board of Trustees. Current priorities for projects include obesity prevention, tobacco and substance use and early childhood health.

Salem Hospital is the main campus of Salem Health, which offers exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley. It comprises hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit us at; “Like” us on; follow us on Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at

Pictured (L to R): Jon Reeves, MWVCAA executive director; Cheryl Wolfe, Salem Health president and CEO; Linda Mann, Capitol Dental director of community outreach; and Cyndi Leinassar, MWVCAA deputy director