From a Flicker of Light in a Field.......
The Brighter Way Story begins with Dr. Kris Volcheck, a young dentist who graduated from Emory University Dental School in Atlanta in 1985. After 9 years as a private practice dentist in Globe, AZ and completing his MBA at ASU, Kris knew he had to leave private dentistry for a more meaningful purpose. 
By chance, he met Mary Orton, the Executive Director of CASS homeless shelter. Sensing Kris was a bit lost, Mary suggested he volunteer and soon he was at their front door. Because of fear, on his first day of volunteering, he did not get out of his car for 30 minutes. Through 2 years of volunteering, Kris entered the most transformative period of his life. After being hired as a full-time case manager working out of a trailer, Kris spent the next 7 years with the unhoused on the streets, in a field, and by riverbeds.
This experience has informed Brighter Way's Mission ever since. Kris had found his meaning.
.......To a Bright Beacon
After years working with the unhoused and seeing devastating dental disease, Kris decided to utilize his professional skills and took action to help transform lives. At the end of 1999, Kris began preparations to open a dental clinic for homeless individuals.
With full support of CASS CEO Mark Holleran, Kris procured an Arizona Office of Oral Health, two-chair dental trailer and placed it in the field next to the case management trailer. On January 1, 2001, with his assistant Cindy Rossey, and 55 volunteers, the CASS Dental Center for the Homeless became a reality.  
Bringing life to his vision, the first patient was appropriately a homeless Vietnam Veteran. From these humble beginnings, the story of Brighter Way Institute begins. 
Founders Message
In 2001, in a small trailer in a field, with only two dental chairs, the Brighter Way ‘team of two’, provided oral health services to our first patient – a homeless Veteran. We restored joy and hope to a broken, lonely man who had served his country. His story touched our hearts and became a beacon of light and hope with a legacy in the Brighter Way logo.
At that time, I was driven to help homeless individuals transform more than their smiles. I wanted to see my patients for who they could become and how I could help them get there. The Campus itself became part of the solution where nonprofit human service agencies could engage in meaningful collaborations;where oral health care could be so much more than simply dental care.
Now, we are 23 years from the trailer in a field. Even then, with little experience, I had one mantra that I have held onto since our inception - provide the best and most comprehensive care possible to our patients.  So, here we are a thriving, dynamic, innovative, state of the art institute. That description sounds impressive.  However, the only thing that matters is what that description means to our patients……comprehensive care that spans services from cleanings all the way to Maxillofacial surgery that restores full function and esthetic.
I personally never imagined that the mantra would help us rise to this elevated position for our patients.  Growth took serious resources, persistence and opportunity. It took a devoted team of dedicated volunteer oral health professionals and the trust of community philanthropists who could see beyond a dental trailer in a field.  As collaborations grew, the Brighter Way beacon of light grew through national and international collaborations. There is a story and the new Brighter Way website will tell you this story.
Here you’ll get a better picture of our patients, our dental centers and our community.  You’ll see the story of our milestones, our awards, and the unique recognition we have earned not only in our local community but nationally. Thank you for visiting the new Brighter Way site and thank you for taking the time to learn more about our history and what we do as a nonprofit oral health institute for people of all ages.
Kris Volcheck
Founding CEO
The History of Brighter Way Institute
After securing an Arizona Office of Oral Health two-chair dental trailer, the CASS Dental Clinic for the Homeless opens with 20 volunteer dentists, 15 hygienists, and 20 dental labs.
In 2001 the Dental Clinic helped transform the lives of 1,142 homeless adults and 103 children who had no other resources for dental care.
The Dental Clinic moves from the 2 chair trailer into an 8 chair high tech clinic..
Volunteer Team grows to 280 dental professionals .
As dental services expanded in the Dental Clinic, volunteers were unable to address the severe dental disease of homeless children. The answer was the creation of a new dental program for impoverished, homeless children from Vista Colina. 
With funding from Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation and in partnership with the Murphy Elementary School District Health and Education Center, the Murphy Kids Dental Clinic opens.
In  partnership with Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation the accredited dental assisting program for domestic violence victims opens.
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation funded the opening of the The Bob & Renee Parsons Center for Pediatric Dentistry at the Murphy Kids Dental Clinic
In partnership with NYU/Langone University, The Parsons Center Pediatric Residency Program opens.
On July 1st, 2016, Brighter Way Institute was incorporated as a nonprofit 501 (c)(3).
In March, Brighter Way collaborated with Canyon State Academy to open a Dental Center for Foster Children.
Brighter Way opens the first nonprofit Implantology/surgery training center program in the nation.
Brighter Way forms a partnership with Clear Choice Implantology Centers.
Brighter Way Institute receives the Eide Bailly Industry Resourcefulness Award
Brighter Way/United Healthcare partnership forms after UHC donates a state of the art mobile dental center.
Brighter Way Institute receives the Ed Stihls National Award for Innovation in Dentistry.
Brighter Way enters into a contract with Boys & Girls Club Metro Phoenix to manage their BGC dental clinic.
Brighter Way/United Healthcare Mobile Center begins program to visit every Metro Phoenix Boys and Girls Club.
Brighter Way hits the 1,000,000 Milestone of oral health procedures provided in the community.
Brighter Way celebrates its 20 Year Milestone of ‘Transforming More Than Smiles’
The Brighter Way Governing Board establishes The Brighter Way Endowment.
Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation Brighter Way Dental Center becomes the new name of our flagship downtown center.
Brighter Way enters into an Implant Residency partnership with Jacksonville University.
Thunderbirds Charities Institute for Implantology is named.
Brighter Way exceeds the $200 Million Milestone in value of oral health services in the community.
Photo Credit: Dana Gibbons
On November 10th, 11 year-old Leah, is recognized for her winning entry naming Brighter Way’s mobile dental center. “Tooth Bus” reached 2,671 individuals in 2023.
The Thunderbirds Charities Institute for Implantology welcomed its second resident on July 1st through the Jacksonville University partnership.
The Brighter Way Endowment hit a $125,000 milestone.
In Memory of our long-time Board Member, Edmund H. Portnoy, PhD – Honorary Founder of
The Brighter Way Endowment.
Brighter Way Institute ©
Tax ID Number: 81-1096448
Arizona Tax Credit QCO: 20880
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230 S 12th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85007
3140 W. Buckeye Road
Phoenix, AZ 85009
3140 W. Buckeye Road
Phoenix, AZ 85009