Headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon, the Oregon Dental Association (ODA) was established in 1893. It is a volunteer membership organization for dentists, and today encompasses 71 percent of the state's practicing dentists. The ODA's parent organization is the American Dental Association (ADA), which itself is comprised of 16 component societies throughout Oregon. Each of the ODA's component societies offer continuing education and service programs at the local level.
The ODA is extensively involved in advocacy of oral health issues and in legislative outreach to the state's lawmakers in matters of oral-health policy. The ODA's Government Affairs department and the Government Relations Council have championed many political issues for members including water fluoridation, Oregon Health Plan and scope of practice issues. Through ODA's Grassroots Action Program, dentists can be assured of an advocate for the rights of dentists. The Grassroots Action Program promotes oral health and dentistry among legislators and regulators who may impact the dentistry profession. The ODA tracks bills and regulatory action that could be harmful to the dental professional and the health of Oregonians, while constantly striving to work toward solutions for issues such as the lack of access to dental care, Medicaid and improved wellness for the most vulnerable.
The Dentists of the Oregon Political Action Committee (DOPAC) offers dentists a convenient and powerful means of making candidates aware of the dental problems that confront oral health care professionals and their patients. Additionally, DOPAC offers campaign assistance to those candidates it deems as understanding the pertinent oral care issues of the day.
Dental Foundation of Oregon
The Dental Foundation of Oregon (DFO) is the charitable arm of the ODA, and its mission is to improve oral health for Oregon's children. The DFO was founded in 1982 and over the years has increased its focus on the oral health of the state's children. Statistics assembled by Oregon's Department of Human Services have indicated a growing trend of oral disease and lack of preventive care among Oregon's children, particularly those from minority, ethnic and low-income communities. Through prevention, education and dental treatment programs, the DFO directs its efforts to reducing incidences of oral disease in low-income communities, where lack of finances and insurance prevents children from visiting the dentist. This way, the Foundation seeks to counteract the poor self-esteem and inability to succeed that can result in children who have lacked adequate oral care.
The DFO also provides grants to projects that complement its mission to address the needs of the state's low-income children, particularly emergency dentist care and education programs. In addition, the Foundation confers awards to individuals and services who demonstrate outstanding dedication to serving in-need children.