GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Millions of Americans don’t get the regular medical and dental care they need because they can’t afford it. A large portion of that group is comprised of Black and Brown people.
One Triad-based healthcare provider is working to accommodate those groups.
The main mission of Triad Kids Dental is to bring affordable, quality healthcare to children in need, regardless of their parents’ income.
Dr. Kasheena Hollis is the regional managing partner for Triad Kids Dental. She says as a woman of color, she wants to use her position to do whatever she can to help her community.
“I was actually talking to a partner of mine today and the question was do you think that it is income based, or racial based? And I said well if we’re being honest and we look at this country and we look at who’s on the lower end of the economic spectrum, it is black, brown, people of color that that impacts. So while it’s easy to try to focus in and divide the two, that’s just not the reality.” Hollis said.
The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at the Wake Forest School of Medicine is devoted to researching disparities in health.
Through their research, they’ve been able to find that Black and Brown people are more susceptible to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and various cancers due to a number of factors, including but not limited to, lack of access, income and racism in healthcare.
Factors called social determinants of health affect how when and where people can get basic healthcare. This includes where you live, work, the state of the environment around you, how close healthcare offices are to your home and more. Since children don’t control any of those things, they often suffer the consequences of poor social determinants of health. That includes sometimes not getting the proper health care.
The demographic that is the focus of the Maya Center’s research makes up most of the patients that walk through the doors of Triad Kids Dental.
“We feel like a child should not have a lesser quality of dentistry should not go without care because of circumstances that are out of their control.” Hollis said.
It’s why Triad Kids Dental has strategically placed their five locations near lower-income communities of color in the Piedmont, where access is low and need is high, and they make sure their staff reflects the community they serve.
“We try to really focus in on diversity within our staff. Research shows that outcomes do improve when you have a diverse staff that comes from a diverse background interacting with the patients, understanding the culture of the patients.” Hollis said.
While they try to serve as many low-income families as they can, they know long-term solutions require work outside of the dental office.
“Giving back with our financial resources, with our caring for communities initiative that we have. We want to make sure that we’re not just here treating, but we’re putting ourselves in the community to be a part of the solution.” Hollis said.
There are a number of resources in the triad that provide low-cost or free health services. You can find them here.