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Health Equity Hero Dr. Theresa Cheng

Theresa Cheng, DDS

Founder, Everyone For Veterans

Donation Recipient: Everyone for Veterans

Dr. Theresa Cheng, an Issaquah, Washington periodontist, was inspired to action after reading a newspaper article about a local mother’s struggles to get services for a son who had returned with severe injuries after serving in the armed forces in Iraq.

Theresa began hosting a day of free care for veterans at her office – a practice she continued for eight years. But she soon learned more hands were needed, because most service members returning with injuries have limited dental care access. Soon Theresa recruited colleagues to provide pro-bono services at their clinics, too.

Realizing her passion was to address veterans’ challenges in accessing dental care, Theresa sold her private practice of 22 years in 2017 to establish Everyone for Veterans (E4V). A nonprofit unaffiliated with the Veterans Administration or the government, E4V serves honorably discharged veterans who have completed at least one enlistment period, plus their spouses and children. The organization collaborates with volunteer dental professionals across the U.S. to provide free, comprehensive dental care, resources, and support.

E4V not only helps resolve dental problems for veterans, but also sets them up for long-term oral and overall health – breaking the cycle of needing perpetual urgent care.

I have so many stories … because here's the thing.... It is really beyond the dental care provided. The dental care AND the dental team represent the love of the community to these veterans. Help one veteran in your community – anywhere in the country, as a dentist or not. When you give back, it comes around.


Now with more than 680 volunteer dentists across 34 states, E4V continues to expand its network, serving 60 to 70 individuals annually. Applications have increased 543% this year, and E4V’s extensive waiting list underscores the urgent need for more dental professionals to lend their support.

One veteran expressed gratitude for his treatment and follow-up care by sending Theresa his Iraq service coin -- a meaningful reminder that E4V’s work goes beyond dental care to represent love and support for veterans who often feel isolated or left behind.

Everyone for Veterans Stats

  • In 2022, E4V served 204 people – 40% veterans, 60% spouses and children, including 75 veterans and six spouses requiring comprehensive dental treatment
  • Top 5 quality of life improvements for those served by E4V: confidence, appearance, ability to chew, reduced anxiety, healthier habits
  • E4V volunteers have donated more than $1M in dental care over 5 years
  • E4V partners with 103 individual champions, 50 agencies and organizations, 651 businesses nationwide
  • 856 hours of volunteer support

U.S. Veteran Facts

  • The VA usually does not provide dental benefits unless a veteran was 100% service disabled.
  • Combat veterans often describe returning to civilian life as more difficult than combat itself.
  • Most combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injuries.
  • 22 veterans commit suicide every day. That’s more than those who die while in combat.

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