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This is a Getty image that has been retouched to reflect the Solventum brand. It is an image of a young boy with dental braces smiling big at an orthodontic clinic.

A global pandemic underscored the reality of health inequities around the globe. Now, communities, companies and individuals ask: What can we do to help? Solventum is partnering with community-based organizations and academic institutions to improve access to health care and help more people get the resources they need to thrive. Those partnerships are powered by one of Solventum’s greatest assets – its people.

Get to yes

When an opportunity to address dental health equity in Minnesota surfaced, Solventum, formerly 3M Health Care, took action. According to the Minnesota State Oral Health Plan (PDF, 31.61 MB), many Minnesotans suffer from dental diseases due to limited access to dental health services and insurance. A public policy to increase access to these critical services was needed.

In the winter of 2020, Solventum, formerly 3M Health Care, partnered with a Minnesota coalition of 15 dental organizations and dental safety net clinics. They collectively called themselves “Get to Yes” – named after a concept coined by the Harvard Negotiation Project and a book of the same name. Their goal? Convince state legislators to say “yes” to better access to dental care for marginalized Minnesotans (subscription required).

Convincing key decision makers to say “yes” to new ideas can be tricky, even when the research is compelling and concrete. Knowing how to craft and share your story is central to advocacy.

The Solventum team guided the Get to Yes coalition through the classic playbook for public policy and advocacy – helping them translate their knowledge to statements of public value and pinpoint influential leaders whose communities would be positively impacted by the proposal and could champion the Get to Yes team’s goals. Together, the team prepared a whitepaper and a series of highly customized legislative communications and asks using the playbook.

Through that impactful partnership with the Solventum team, Get to Yes secured a $61 million increase in funding from the state legislature for Minnesotans on Medicaid. Per Medicaid policy, the federal government matched state costs with federal dollars, which resulted in a total of $120 million for Get to Yes. This work will help hundreds of thousands of historically marginalized Minnesotans gain access to critically needed dental care.

I’ve been active in health policy for 30 years and I had no idea the power of the way Solventum wins hearts and minds of policy makers.

Sheila Riggs

Chair of the Department of Primary Dental Care at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

Coming together for good

At Solventum we know that with creativity, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose, no problem is unsolvable. A solutions-based mindset lies at the heart of our culture.

Collaboration, community and purpose-driven work are worth celebrating – and the outcomes often speak for themselves.

“We now believe we will change the trajectory of access and disease for a generation of Minnesotans,” says Dr. Sheila Riggs.

Why improving access to dental care matters

In 2000, the Office of the Surgeon General published an oral health report showing a clear association between oral and overall health. Tooth decay and other problems like periodontal disease can further complicate health conditions like diabetes (PDF, 203.90 KB) and heart disease (PDF, 209.56 KB)Healthy People 2030 – a ten-year plan to address U.S. health priorities – counts combatting tooth decay and oral health conditions, as well as enhancing access to oral health care services, as top priorities.

Tooth decay is also the most common childhood disease worldwide. Download the eBook to learn more.