Ensuring all children and families have the opportunity and the tools for good oral health is at the heart of our shared mission, with equity as a core principle of the work that we do across all areas of the Network. 

Equity Statement

The Children’s Oral Health Network of Maine is committed to addressing oral health disparities by centering equity in all aspects of our work. The lack of an equitable oral health system results in worse outcomes overall, and systemic racism and discrimination have led to particular inequities in oral health outcomes, particularly for communities of color, families with low-income, and other marginalized populations. 

Racial inequality persists as one of the most pervasive types of inequality, and its impacts on oral health are clear. The systems of economic injustice are inextricably intertwined with racial injustice. As such, by taking an antiracist approach to our oral health solutions COHN aims to address the other inequities that we know persist for other communities facing systemic oppression of all types. 

We work to create as many pathways to oral health as possible from an early age, including bringing oral health care to where children already are and ensuring sustainable financing of the oral health system to create equal opportunities for all to access care. Within this work, we are building structures that address the extra barriers facing communities of color, families with low-income, and other marginalized populations as they seek oral health care.

COHN strives to co-create a culture of equity with partners within our Network, interprofessional health providers, and everyone who interacts with the dental system. We practice shared decision making, create feedback processes to refine the Network’s efforts, and grow capacity among our Network members to build an equitable oral health system for all people in Maine. Community voices inform the design of the solutions we create so we can truly drive forward systems change that works for those who have historically been underserved.

This is a journey, and we have more work to do. COHN is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work to transform oral health systems. These values are essential to accomplishing our shared vision: a Maine where ALL children can grow up free from preventable dental disease. Unless we focus the work on those facing the greatest inequities, we will never get there. We will lean on these values, reflect, grow, and adapt as our Network continues to build an equitable oral health system.

(Updated June 2023)

Key Resources