Help Make a Dental Home for Homeless Kids
Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children hosting service day to start AAPD annual session
The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is recruiting volunteers for its first annual Dental Home Day, a community service event that will provide dental care to at least 100 homeless children from the Orlando, Florida area. Sponsored by Sunstar Americas, Dental Home Day is Wednesday, May 22, the day before the AAPD’s 66th Annual Session begins in Orlando. Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC) is recruiting assistants, dentists, and other volunteers to help with the daylong event.
“The Dental Home is critical to everything the foundation does,” says HSHC President David Curtis, DMD. “Dental Home Day is our chance to give back and help support continuing care for participating patients within our Annual Session community.” According to the AAPD, a Dental Home is defined as an ongoing relationship between a dentist and patient, which is why the host clinic will receive HSHC Access to Care grants to help cover ongoing oral care costs of the Dental Home Day participants following the event.
Although Florida law requires treating professionals to be licensed in that state, volunteers will have plenty of opportunities, regardless of where they’re licensed. “We encourage interested professionals to register,” Curtis says. “Even if we don’t have a spot for you this year, we’ll be looking for volunteers in Boston 2014 and Seattle 2015.”
HSHC was established in 1987 by the AAPD to support and promote service, education, and research advancing the oral health of infants and children through adolescence, including those with special healthcare needs. It supports community-based initiatives that provide access to care for all children.
“Dental Home Day is a logical extension of our access-to-care efforts that began in 2010. Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children has increased the number of Access to Care grants it’s awarded the last 2 years, and we expect that pattern will continue this year,”says Paul Amundsen, CFRE, Director of Development and Charitable Programs at HSHC. The organization received more than 50 proposals for the 2013 grants, and recipients will be announced later this spring.
“Working with kids takes a special skill, and we’re looking for assistants who can help with the children while chairside and also help with oral health instruction with parents and patients,” Amundsen says.
Dental Home Day is expected to attract volunteers from throughout the country, with everyone on the dental team playing a role in Orlando.“The generosity of the dental profession — giving both time and financial support — is amazing,” concludes Amundsen.
For more information about Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children’s access-to-care work, check out the video profile of three HSHC Access to Care grantees featured at www.facebook/healthysmileshealthychildren.