Impact Report 2022

Sparking Change in Oral Health

It’s up to all of us — providers, policymakers, educators, advocates, and patients — to create a better oral health system. And the time is now.

Myechia Minter-Jordan

A Letter From Our President and CEO

At CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, we are changemakers. In a time when our health care system has failed millions of Americans, we are working as a catalyst for system transformation, bringing forth ideas and solutions that spark change. Better access to preventive care for underserved populations. Dental and medical systems that talk to each other. A care model that prioritizes quality and value. Patient experiences that are equitable and holistic.

These are not dreams of some distant future; they are happening now. Together, we’re creating a new oral health system that is accessible, equitable, and integrated.

It’s up to all of us — providers, policymakers, educators, advocates, and patients — to create a better oral health system. And the time is now. Far too many people still lack access to critical preventive care, but I am incredibly proud to say that our work together is helping change that.

Soon, more than 3 million people will gain access to coverage because of legislative action in their states. These hard-fought victories are thanks to the tireless work of thousands of forward-thinking community leaders across the country.

It is this kind of incredible progress that keeps me hopeful about the future, because the oral health system is already starting to look a lot different. To keep this momentum, we will continue to uncover the multifaceted causes of oral health disparities and build data-driven and community-informed solutions to achieve equity.

We’ve made great strides this year through our research and data analysis, seeking to improve patient outcomes by sharing new findings and insights with everyone working to improve the health system. In 2022, our team produced more than 100 new research reports and journal articles and hosted more than 20 webinars to provide continuing education for oral health professionals. The more we learn, the more sparks of knowledge we create to inspire robust, strategic, and powerful movements for change.

Meanwhile, more community groups and dental practices are testing new models of care and transforming oral health care policy in their states. To help accelerate this work, we invest strategically to strengthen communities and improve oral health systems through our grantmaking. In 2022, we awarded $14 million to 86 organizations that are shattering barriers to address disparities in oral health status, access to care, and health outcomes.

Together, through all of this, we’re sparking change to create a better oral health system for all. Will you join us?

Myechia Minter-Jordan signature

Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA
President and CEO

Our Mission

To improve the oral health of all

CareQuest Institute is a catalyst for systems change, working to create a more accessible, equitable, and integrated health system for all. In 2022, we made great strides toward our ambitious aim.

CareQuest team at The Hill Unlocking Access to Oral Health event

Improving Oral Health

We’re improving the oral health system through our work in five Areas of Activation: grantmaking, research, health improvement, policy and advocacy, and education. And as part of the full CareQuest Institute portfolio, our two Areas of Influence include several oral health entities that share our mission and values.

But we don’t do any of this work alone. Collaboration and partnership are key to achieving our mission — to improve the oral health of all.

dental student mixes materials
Jeannie Bath, DDS, dental director at Good Shepherd Ministries provides treatment dental therapist provides pediatric treatment

Learn How We’re Making an Impact

Our Impact


12K+ Providers Educated
3K+ CE Credits Awarded
23 Webinars Produced

Listening to patients, acknowledging their stories, is really helpful.

Jeannie Bath, DDS, dental director at Good Shepherd Ministries, and her team are applying what they learned about dental fear and anxiety in a CareQuest Institute webinar earlier this year.

Learners share their reflections on CareQuest Institute webinars.

One Thing You Plan to Try . . .

Jeannie Bath, DDS, the dental director at Good Shepherd Ministries, looks at patients a little differently now. She and her team in Oklahoma assume everyone they see has a little bit of anxiety about their dental appointments — some knowledge she picked up from a CareQuest Institute webinar in May, “Dental Fear and Anxiety: Why It Exists and What Providers Can Do to Help.”

“As a team, we talked about how common dental anxiety is and the vicious cycle that increases barriers,” Bath says. “So, we go slow, go gently, and do lots of listening when people have stories to tell.”

In response to a post-webinar survey asking about one thing she planned to try at her organization after the training, Bath, like many others, had concrete ideas and plans to improve care in her community.

“Many people in our patient population (often low-income and undocumented) haven’t received dental care in the past,” she says. “Sometimes we get to do someone’s very first dental visit when they’re 40, which is a great opportunity to show them what dentistry is and what it can be.”

She recounted her experience with one patient: “I’ll call her Gloria. When she came in, she was visibly nervous. She showed some of those signs that they talked about in the webinar, how you could visually assess anxiety. She was almost in tears, even talking about the possibility of dental care. And then, over time, going slowly, listening to Gloria’s story . . . the interactions changed. We found out that Gloria had received some dental care in Ecuador that she was actually really happy about. But she was very nervous that that care was an exception, and that she would never get good dental care again.”

Slowly, over time, Gloria opened up to receiving care.

“It’s been several months, and she’s had little bits of treatment at a time,” Bath says. “We’ve just gone really slowly. And you can see the whole dynamic of her family change. When she comes in, she’s happy. She’s smiling at us.”

Listening, going slowly, and assuming anxiety existed, have helped Bath and her team.

“Talking to her about what we could do helped us move forward,” Bath says. “Listening to patients, acknowledging their stories, is really helpful.”


110+ Publications Released
67K+ Web Page Views
33.5M Patient Records Researched

It’s not enough to say that Hispanics need to be treated better. We need to have data substantiated with evidence.

Martha Mutis, DDS, MPH, FICD, chair of the national research team at the Hispanic Dental Association 

Eric P. Tranby, PhD, director of analytics and data insights at CareQuest Institute, explains why equity is the primary focus of the State of Oral Health Equity in America survey.

The Critical Role of Data in Creating Change

Martha Mutis, DDS, MPH, FICD, chair of the national research team at the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA), points to a clear, meaningful goal when you ask about her organization’s work: “It is to improve the oral health outcomes for the Hispanic population and other underserved communities,” she says. “We know that for cultural reasons, limitations in access to care, and socioeconomic determinants of health, there are great challenges.”

Then she pauses for a moment.

“But, it’s not enough to say that Hispanics need to be treated better,” she adds. “We need to have data substantiated with evidence.”

In 2021, as HDA evaluated past efforts and developed a new three-year strategic plan, it identified a lack of relevant data to develop policies supporting the oral health of the Hispanic community. According to the 2020 census, for example, Hispanics represent approximately 18.5% of the total population, but only about 6% of dental health care providers are Hispanic — a number HDA is trying to help grow.

Connecting with CareQuest Institute, a longtime partner, a previous grantor, and a leader in oral health analytics and data insights, was the next logical step.

“Having respectable data that can be used to convince people,” Mutis says. “I think CareQuest Institute is the leader when it comes to that.”

The project is an important one in CareQuest Institute’s portfolio of work, which yielded more than 110 publications on topics ranging from alternative payment models to teledentistry in 2022. The industry-leading data contain anonymized oral health information about 33.5 million individuals in the US, largely focusing on underserved populations that lack benefits and access.

Access is one thing Mercedes Mota-Martinez, DDS, president of HDA, points to as a key barrier to adequate care for the Hispanic population.

“We do rich campaigns around health literacy,” she says, “but once people come home, and decide they need to go see the dentist, they have to have access to a dental plan, or financial resources to pay for care.”

Data can be one way to open the door to that access.

“We see the data and information we’re sharing to be a significant contribution because it’s going to eventually affect the monies that are spent in the US around health care,” says Mutis. “And it will strengthen that message that good oral health leads to better overall health.”

Health Improvement

25 New Clinical Teams Integrating Oral and Medical Care
10 States Testing Models to Transform Care
80K+ Patients Benefiting from Integration

We’re trying to make a difference for people who need a voice, to service every person in this community and be an oral health champion.

Raydiance Swanston is part of the Community Oral Health Transformation Initiative, a learning community that is reimagining what efficient, equitable oral health care looks like.

Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, President and CEO at CareQuest Institute, discusses how health improvement is helping drive change in the industry.

Making Care More Convenient for Patients

Since she can remember, Misty Boughton, a clinic director at Weeks Family Medicine in Bend, Oregon, has been looking for ways to improve whatever she is doing. Processes. Paperwork. Patient care. No matter her focus, during her two-decade career that also includes roles as a dental assistant and a certified medical assistant, improvement has always been a goal.

“I love watching my staff learn,” Boughton says. “It can make them kind of crazy, but I love watching them succeed and figure it out. I really like the figure-it-out part.”

MORE Care™, an initiative of CareQuest Institute that aims to integrate oral health competencies and capabilities into primary care offices, was perfect for Misty and her improvement-minded team. Since the first pilot in 2015, MORE Care has helped communities in several states establish interprofessional oral health networks to integrate person-centered oral health care into primary care.

“MORE Care was amazing,” Boughton says.

Program teams work to assist medical practices in developing the skills and adopting the processes necessary to integrate oral health services into their existing workflows. Collaboration and learning alongside other organizations are critical to success of the program.

“Sometimes bringing on another project can feel so overwhelming,” Boughton says. “But being able to talk with other professionals who had implemented oral health into their practices was so helpful. In the trainings, you could bounce ideas off each other and ask questions. We could help, encourage, and empower each other.”

The same collaboration happens in the Community Oral Health Transformation (COrHT) Initiative, a framework for safety net dental clinics to implement medical-dental integration and value-based care. Raydiance Swanston, a health program manager at Mecklenburg County Pediatric Clinic, values those interactions as part of ongoing work with CareQuest Institute in North Carolina.

“We’re trying to make a difference for people who need a voice, to service every person in this community and be an oral health champion,” she says.

Both COrHT and MORE Care focus on enabling community oral health solutions that support accessible, integrated care for the whole patient.

“It is very important that we remove systemic barriers to good oral health,” Swanston says, “and accelerate the implementation of policies that reduce oral health disparities in our community.”


86 Grantees Driving Change
$14M+ Invested in 2022
33% Grantees are BIPOC-Led

When dental health aides and dental therapists are also community members . . . it’s a familiar face. People have a positive experience . . . and want to go back.”

Miranda Davis, DDS, MPH, project director, Northwest Portland Indian Health Board

a dental therapist performs a check-up

Marissa Gardner, a dental therapist for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians in southern Oregon, performs a first check-up for a community member.

Oral Health Care For — and By — the Community

When Miranda Davis, DDS, MPH, talks about providing dental care to underserved populations in the Pacific Northwest, you quickly realize it’s much more than a profession for her.

“The inequities,” she says, “keep me up at night.”

Davis is the project director for the Native Dental Therapy Initiative (NDTI) at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB), where she works with communities that experience many health disparities. NPAIHB’s Tribal Community Health Provider Project (TCHPP), the umbrella project under which NDTI fits, aims to increase access to quality dental care and create new workforce and capacity-building opportunities by implementing the Community Health Aide Program for tribes in the Portland area — the three-state region of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. TCHPP includes the training and employment of community health aides, behavioral health aides, and dental health aides.

“We’re lucky to have CareQuest Institute helping and investing money in this,” Davis says.

Every year, CareQuest Institute invests strategically to strengthen communities and improve our oral and overall health systems. In 2022, the organization invested $14 million to 86 grantee organizations, 33% of which are BIPOC-led organizations.

NPAIHB is an ideal grantee. Growing and improving the program mean more people in more communities will have more opportunities for jobs within their communities and greater access to quality dental care — care from people they know and trust. In 2022, Davis hired Pam Ready, a dental hygienist, professor, dental hygiene educator, and a member of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Ready serves as the dental health aide education manager for the team.

TCHPP’s work has become so popular that it is creating a capacity problem. More high schools in Washington and Oregon are interested in offering courses about dental careers and in providing the dental health aide core curriculum, so Davis plans to increase both the quality and capacity of TCHPP.

“Without the grant from CareQuest Institute, I wouldn’t have been able to hire Pam and Kari [Kuntzelman, a dental health aide therapist and a member of the Chickasaw Nation] . . . and they are both amazing,” Davis says.

That experience leads to much better care for patients.

“When dental health aides and dental therapists are also community members, the kids know them and the adults trust them, because it’s a familiar face,” Davis says. “People have a positive experience with their dental care and want to go back.”

Policy & Advocacy

3M+ Adults Gained Dental Benefits
5M+ With Certain Medical Conditions Gained Dental Coverage
5K+ Web Page Views of Coverage Checker

I get a lot of calls to our office from people who are desperate and asking where they can get dental care. Now . . . I can tell people that they will have dental coverage.

Mary Backley, CEO of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition, far left in photo, is elated that 800,000 beneficiaries will gain access to comprehensive dental coverage in her state.

Mary Backley, CEO of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition, discusses the expansion of adult dental benefits in Medicaid in her state.

Securing Dental Coverage in Maryland

It was the tragic story of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver from Maryland, who died from an untreated tooth infection that spread lethal bacteria to his brain, that first compelled advocates in the state to take up the fight to expand dental coverage to low-income children in 2007.

The organization at the forefront of this work, the Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC), made meaningful advances in dental coverage for children in Maryland and then turned its attention to expanding dental coverage for adults on Medicaid.

“We started by educating the state legislature about the issue and brought oral health champions on board to help these policymakers really understand the importance of oral health to overall health,” says Mary Backley, CEO of MDAC.

Now, 15 years after MDAC and the advocate community began its work, on May 12, 2022, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed SB150/HB 6 into law, which creates a Medicaid dental benefit for all adults. Starting on January 1, 2023, 800,000 Maryland Medicaid adult beneficiaries will gain access to comprehensive dental coverage, including diagnostic, preventive, periodontal, and restorative services. There is no cap or annual maximum applied to coverage, which will allow all individual patient needs to be met in a timely manner.

Backley and Robyn Elliott, MDAC’s policy and governmental affairs consultant, fondly recall the day they were waiting for the final vote on the bill.

“We ended up getting everything we needed in the bill, which was, and is to this day, amazing,” says Elliott. “Then, it was one of the best phone calls I’ve ever made in my life to Mary, who was the first person I called to tell the news.”

To help build the case, MDAC partnered with — and received a grant from — CareQuest Institute on a study related to how much Maryland’s state Medicaid program was paying for emergency room visits for non-traumatic dental conditions. The study revealed that the state was spending $10 million per year for these visits, which are costly, ineffective, and largely avoidable with accessible preventive dental care.

“I get a lot of calls to our office from people who are desperate and asking where they can get dental care,” says Backley. “Now when I get those calls, I can tell people that they will have dental coverage under the new law, starting January 2023.”

Now, MDAC will shift its focus to implementation, working with partners and stakeholders on a significant education and outreach campaign to help people enroll in coverage.

Our People

Lighting the Way

Our vision at CareQuest Institute is a future where every person can reach their full potential through excellent health. It’s a vision we pursue every day.

Executive Leadership

CareQuest Executive Leadership team


  • Mariya Filipova, MBA

    Chief Innovation Officer, CareQuest Innovation Partners

  • Kaz Rafia, DDS, MBA, MPH

    Chief Health Equity Officer

  • Patricia Ma, Esq.

    Chief Legal Officer

  • Grandy Cody, MBA

    Vice President, Chief of Staff

  • Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA

    President and CEO

  • Michelle Jones-Johnson, MBA, SPHR

    Chief Human Resources Officer

  • Denise W. Marks, MBA, CPA

    Chief Financial Officer

Board of Directors

Andrew Agwunobi, MD

CEO & EVP Health Affairs, UConn Health Systems

Kathleen Betts

President, Prizm Advisors

Roderick King, MD, MPH

SVP Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, University of Maryland Medical System

Todd Marshall, DDS, MBA

Independent Advisor and Consultant

Evelyn Henry Miller, CPA

CFO, TDIndustries

William Mills

Chairman of the Board of Managers, Ascension Ventures IV, L.P.

Pam Reeve, MBA

Board Chair

Bob Weyant, MS, DMD, DrPH

Professor & Chair, Dental Public Health, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Jessica Zeaske, MHS, PhD, MBA

Echo Health Ventures, Partner

Our Team

The staff of Care Quest Institute

Next Year

The Future Is Bright

We’re heading into 2023 ready to advance and accelerate our work to create a more accessible, equitable, and integrated oral health system.

We will:

Create and scale validated, innovative, and integrated care delivery systems to improve access to prevention-focused, person-centered oral health care.

Advocate for, protect, and expand adult dental benefits in Medicare and Medicaid.

Encourage movement to a value-based payment system, including designing alternative reimbursement structures, to prioritize and reward improved patient outcomes.

Strengthen and expand a network of community-based health leaders and organizations to create a more coordinated, integrated system.