UWNEMN creates regional task force to address dental needs

United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) is expanding its Smiles United program to address the growing need for dental care in the region and is proud to announce the establishment of the Northeast Minnesota Dental Task Force.

“It’s been over 15 years since we first heard growing concerns from schools about students’ dental needs and partnered with CDS to address those concerns,” said UWNEMN Executive Director Erin Shay. “We are once again hearing about dental needs in our region – this time from nonprofits, local leaders, and community members from all walks of life – and it’s clearly time to take action.”

The Northeast Minnesota Dental Task Force includes representatives from the following local and regional entities:

  • Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, a division of ARDC
  • Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA)
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota
  • CHI LakeWood Public Health 
  • Children’s Dental Services
  • East Range DAC
  • Ely Community Health Center
  • Essentia Health
  • Fairview Range
  • Koochiching County Public Health & Human Services
  • Lake of the Woods County
  • Medica
  • Minnesota Dental Foundation
  • Minnesota Department of Health Follow Along Program
  • Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation
  • Rainy Lake Medical Center
  • Scenic Rivers Health Services
  • St. Francis Health Services
  • St. Louis County

The task force will meet quarterly to:

  • Keep regional stakeholders connected and engaged on our communities’ dental needs.
  • Identify actionable solutions and collaborate when appropriate.
  • Ultimately, increase dental providers and programs in Northeastern Minnesota.

Top needs discussed to-date by the task force include workforce, crisis funding for anesthesia costs not covered by insurance, mobile and accessible care for seniors, and a “dental home” for uninsured and underinsured individuals.

For more information, contact katy@unitedwaynemn.org