community impact

Good Oral Health for Spokane Residents

You may have heard our health system in the US described as “decapitated” because our primary care providers treat the physical health of our bodies, but our heads, including mental health and oral health, are treated separately. Moving towards an integrated health system that treats the whole person will be a crucial step for health systems transformations, and in improving the health of our region.

Here in the Spokane area, programs like The Mighty Mouth, Smile Spokane, and DENT, are helping to raise community investment in Oral Health, but there is a lot of work to be done. A recent article in The Spokesman Review on the DENT program has helped start conversations around the shortfalls in our region's access to care. In Spokane 40% of children have experienced tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Over 30% of adults have lost one or more of their teeth to decay.[1] Not to mention with the increasing amount of sugar in American diets, regular flossing and brushing isn’t always enough to fight cavities. We don’t always think of how our teeth relate to our overall health, but tooth decay and gum disease can worsen chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

We’ve recently released our Oral Health Access document, which expresses our commitment to improving oral health access and some suggestions for how we can address oral health as a community. Please read and share!


[1] Spokane Regional Health District. (Nov 2010). 10 Things You Need to Know About Oral Health in Spokane County.

Whitworth Newsletter Features Christina Kamkosi

The challenging aspect of this job is finding the right strategies to solve today’s toughest social problems with finite resources. At EHF, we are collaborating with different community partners to measurably and sustainably move the dial on health.

We at EHF are delighted to see our very own Christina Kamkosi featured in Whitworth University's "Mind & Heart" newsletter!  Take a look at her interview to learn a little bit more about Christina's perspective on servant leadership and on the role of relationships in working to improve the health of Eastern Washington.  

Christina is a Program Coordinator for the Responsive Grants and Capacity Building programs at EHF.  Originally from Malawi, Christina has been part of the Spokane community since 2010.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from African Bible College and an MBA in International Management from Whitworth University, and she was named one of the top 20 professionals under 40 in the Spokane region by Inland Business Catalyst Magazine in 2015.

Highlights from First Lady Inslee's Visit on Oct. 21, 2015

Update:  Check out First Lady Inslee's Facebook post about her visit to Garfield Elementary!

First Lady Inslee and Spokane Public Schools Director of Nutrition Services Doug Wordell at Garfield Elementary.

First Lady Inslee and Spokane Public Schools Director of Nutrition Services Doug Wordell at Garfield Elementary.

First Lady Trudi Inslee came to Spokane on October 21st as part of Washington Nonprofits' Community Impact Project.  Empire Health Foundation was honored to host Mrs. Inslee and showcase how two of Governor Inslee's signature health initiatives -- Healthiest Next Generation and Healthier Washington -- are being implemented locally.

Mrs. Inslee started the day at Garfield Elementary in Spokane Public Schools where she learned about Spokane Public Schools' effort to bring scratch cooking to eight of its elementary schools.  At Garfield, Mrs. Inslee heard about how this launch built off of success in the Cheney School District under the leadership of their Superintendent Dr. Deb Clemens.  Mrs. Inslee enjoyed a delicious meal with a smart and inquisitive group of sixth graders.  A huge thanks to Garfield and Spokane Public Schools for hosting the First Lady.

In the afternoon, Mrs. Inslee joined with leaders of community nonprofits at the Philanthropy Center to discuss Eastern Washington's multi-sector efforts to achieve the Triple Aim of better health, better care at lower costs.  A particular highlight was hearing from Better Health Together Community Health Worker Georgie Tarrant about her tireless work to connect chronically homeless and medical fragile members of our community to housing and other needed services.  


Thanks to Washington Nonprofits for your leadership in this effort and Mrs. Inslee for coming to Spokane!