Focus on presidents-elect in January

Presidents-elect: Dr. Maxine Feinberg, ADA president-elect, speaks during the 2014 President-Elect’s Conference held Jan. 26-28 at ADA Headquarters in Chicago. This year, 48 of 52 presidents-elect, along with 26 executive directors, attended the conference. It is the first time executive directors have been invited to the event. Look for the story on the coverage of the President-Elect Conference in the Feb. 17 issue.

Dr. Curtis Leciejewski (right), president-elect of the Delaware State Dental Society, speaks during a group discussion while Dr. Robert W. Emery, president-elect, District of Columbia, listens.

Dr. Curtis Leciejewski (right), president-elect of the Delaware State Dental Society, speaks during a group discussion while Dr. Robert W. Emery, president-elect, District of Columbia, listens.

Dr. Suzanne Germain speaks at the President-Elect Conference, held Jan. 26-28, 2014.
Increasing diversity: Dr. Suzanne Germain speaks at the President-Elect Conference, held Jan. 26-28, on the importance of increasing leadership diversity and inclusion. Dr. Germain is an ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership alumni. She launched the Indiana AIR (Acceptance, Inclusion, Respect) Leadership Program in 2012 to provide targeted leadership training to a small group of promising leaders from various backgrounds in hopes they will gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to take on leadership roles in organized dentistry and in their communities. Institute for Diversity in Leadership participants learn about defining leadership; creating vision; leading effective teams transparently; negotiations and conflict management; decision making; effective presentations; and nonprofit boards, stakeholder engagement, marketing and fundraising.

Seventh leadership colloquium planned


St. Louis—Participants of the seventh U.S. National Oral Health Alliance’s leadership colloquium will gather April 7-8 at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel.

Stakeholders will gather to help chart the future of access to oral health care for people nationwide health.

Stakeholders will build on the work of the group’s prior six colloquia to shape a framework to engage industry leaders, legislators and others.

The six priority areas discussed were developed by a diverse group of stakeholders at the 2009 ADA-convened Access to Dental Care Summit and adopted by the Alliance. The ADA is a partner organization.

The six original colloquia focused on medical and dental collaboration, prevention and public health infrastructure, oral health literacy, metrics, financing models for oral health and strengthening the dental care delivery system.

Registration is free. Space is limited.

For more information, to register and make hotel reservations, or to download summaries for past meetings, visit

Sun shines on GKAS national kickoff

Reception smiles: GKAS volunteers and community partners meet Feb. 6 to herald GKAS 2014. Shown are (from left) Timothy J. Sullivan, Henry Schein Dental, president, North America Dental Group; Candy B. Ross, director of industry and professional relations, KaVo Kerr Group; Dr. Charles H. Norman, ADA president; and Dr. Barbara Shearer, director, scientific affairs, Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals. Photo by Washington Talent, Photo & Video

Washington—It couldn’t have been a more promising smile for the national kickoff Give Kids A Smile Day at the Howard University College of Dentistry Feb. 7, on message, forward looking and engaged with the community, even the capricious weather sunny and dry.

It’s the morning after a DC Dental Society Foundation reception (more about that later) honoring the GKAS volunteers, community partners and corporate sponsors who provide free oral health services in clinics and private practices across the nation and who’ve been doing it for 12 GKAS years at Howard, which was hosting its 13th annual children’s clinic.

Trenton Franklin and Darius Ferguson, smiling even as they clambered into the dental chair, were among the first of 175 DC Ward 7 school and pre-school children, ages 3-11, who would be seen by Howard dental students and DC Dental Society volunteer dentists. There’s the “thank you” message of the Feb. 6 reception and there’s a message in those smiles.

Winning smile: Trenton Franklin happily grabs a seat in the dental chair at the Howard University GKAS for his initial exam. Photo by Namita Gautam, DC Dental Society 

Busloads of fun: Washington, D.C.-area kids are transported by bus for screening, treatment and oral health education at the Give Kids A Smile event at Howard University College of Dentistry. Photo by Namita Gautam, DC Dental Society 

Ask Trenton and Darius where they got those smiles and they say, “At home.” Ask the dentists and students what that means, and they’ll tell you the GKAS children are increasingly in better oral health and their families more engaged with their oral health.

“I’ve been seeing less cavities,” said fourth year student Fatemeh Mojarrad. “The kids are doing much better taking care of themselves.”

Some 5 million underserved children have received some type of free health services through Give Kids A Smile since the ADA took the program national in 2003, ADA President Dr. Charles Norman told the VIP reception audience at the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Ave. midway between the White House and Capitol Hill. “Since then it’s become the world’s largest oral health charitable program.”

Nor is it a one-time event, extending throughout the year in clinics and private practices across the nation and engaging an expanding community of sponsors and volunteers. An estimated 350,000 disadvantaged children will receive some type of free health service at 1,500 GKAS events in 2014, Dr. Norman said. This can include screenings, cleanings, X-rays, sealants and fluoride varnish applications, restoratives and education materials. “This great work will be possible thanks to more than 9,000 dentists and 28,000 other dental team members and volunteers from the community,” he said.

“Over the past 11 years since the start of the program, in DC we have screened approximately 2,500 children and provided over $700,000 of dental treatment to underserved children in our community,” said Dr. Sally Cram, president of the DC Dental Society Foundation. “Our collaboration with Howard University School of Dentistry has not only helped us treat these children but has forged a strong mentoring relationship with the students and our DC Dental Society members.”

Speaking of the students, some 175 second, third and fourth year dental and third and fourth year hygiene students were on hand and staffing the Howard GKAS clinic under the mentoring eyes of DC Dental society volunteer dentists, many of them never having missed one of these events.

And the students scheduled a Feb. 8 walk-in clinic offering free teeth cleaning for adults and children, oral hygiene instruction and free blood pressure and oral cancer screenings as an extension of their Feb. 7 GKAS community service.

Group effort: Volunteer dentists, dental students, sponsors and community partners gather for a group photo at the Howard University College of Dentistry today (Feb. 7) before the national kick-off Give Kids A Smile Day event in Washington, D.C. Photo by Namita Gautam, DC Dental Society

An enthusiastic dental dean, Dr. Leo E. Rouse, opened the GKAS event by thanking “the entire DC Dental Society family. This is about you, the volunteer models, you young people. This is about family, inter-professional engagement. This is your chance students, residents, volunteers, dental hygienists, dentists, staff, the whole family. Make it a great thing. This is our future.”

“Each year our volunteer dentists identify children who need continued care and offer to treat these children in their private offices,” said Dr. Donna Grant-Mills, associate professor and chair of Howard’s Department of Dental Hygiene. “The challenge over the years has been getting that child to the office. This year, thanks to a grant through the American Dental Education Association aimed at enhancing the formation of academic and community partnerships to reduce oral health disparities for vulnerable children, we will be able to link those children and their families to dentists and oral centers in Ward 7 for post-GKAS treatment, so that they may receive continued care.”

GKAS, TeamSmile hold joint program; serves Atlanta kids

Inspiring kids: Atlanta Falcons star Tony Gonzalez signs a football for a youngster at Fair Elementary School in Atlanta during a Give Kids A Smile/TeamSmile dental program.

Atlanta—Bringing two great access to care programs together for one special day, the Georgia Dental Association joined together with TeamSmile and the ADA’s Give Kids A Smile program to host a special TeamSmile/Give Kids A Smile program Dec. 6, 2013, at Fair Street Elementary School.

Several Atlanta Falcon pro football players, including newly retired star tight end Tony Gonzalez, were on hand to support more than 350 children who received education, goodie bags with dental care items, screenings and treatment. The program was made possible by a generous donation from CareCredit to the ADA Foundation Give Kids A Smile Fund.

“The GDA is always eager to champion the cause of excellent oral health, especially in children,” said Dr. Doug Torbush, president-elect of the Georgia Dental Association and TeamSmile volunteer. “Our GDA volunteers were pleased to work with TeamSmile to get the students at Fair Street Elementary excited about their smiles.”

“As founding donor of the ADA Foundation GKAS Fund, we’re thrilled to join forces with TeamSmile,” said Cindy Hearn, senior vice president of branding and communications for CareCredit, 2013 GKAS National Advisory Committee member, and an ADA Foundation board member. “This new partnership has produced a wonderful program and allowed the good work done by GKAS to reach even more children within a new venue with a football fan base.”

Today is Give Kids A Smile day


Today is the American Dental Association’s 12th national Give Kids A Smile day and dental professionals from coast to coast are mobilizing to provide free oral health services to 350,000 children and adolescents from underserved families.

The national kickoff event will take place today at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Watch ADA News on and the Feb. 17 print edition of ADA News for coverage.

Give Kids A Smile has become the world’s largest oral health charitable program and an ADA access-to-care endeavor designed to encourage parents, health professionals and policymakers to address the year-round need for oral health care for all children. Since 2003, GKAS has provided dental services for nearly five million children.

“With the recent implementation of the Affordable Care Act, health care is on everyone’s mind,” said ADA President Charles H. Norman. “There is more to be done to help alleviate the silent epidemic of tooth decay.”


The ADA’s Health Policy Resources Center estimates that about 8.7 million children are expected to gain some form of dental benefit from the Affordable Care Act, which will reduce by approximately 55 percent the number of children without dental benefits.

“There are barriers beyond finances that need to be addressed, including education and transportation,” said Dr. Norman. “Give Kids A Smile is designed to help the underserved, but also deliver a message to elected officials that more needs to be done.”

Give Kids A Smile is a component of the ADA’s national community-based access movement Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference. Action for Dental Health aims to reduce the numbers of adults and children with untreated dental disease through oral health education, prevention and providing treatment now to people in need of care.

The ADA began the Give Kids A Smile program in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. The program initially began as a one-day event in February, but has since grown to local and national events year-round. Dentists and other team members volunteer their time, and services, to provide screenings, treatments and education to children throughout the United States. Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1500 events, all because of the efforts of 40,000 or more annual volunteers.

The ADA’s national Give Kids A Smile program would not be possible without volunteers and continued generous support of sponsors Henry Schein Dental, Colgate and DEXIS.

For more information about Give Kids A Smile, visit the GKAS page and for the latest news, visit the GKAS Facebook page.

Just the Facts-Feb. 3

American Dental Association

UNC first GKAS event provides free dental care to nearly 100 children

GKAS health fair: University of North Carolina School of Medicine student Alex Ahearn shows a Durham Head Start preschooler how a stethoscope works at the UNC School of Dentistry’s Give Kids A Smile event Feb. 7. The dental school partnered with UNC School of Medicine and UNC School of Nursing in hosting a health fair during the school’s first GKAS event where about 100 children ages 3-5 received more than $16,000 in free dental care services.

Big smiles: University of North Carolina School of Dentistry students Anthony Brown and Rosanne Morgan pose with patient Ashley Melissa Zurita Jarquin at the school’s first Give Kids A Smile event Feb. 7. About 100 children ages 3-5 received more than $16,000 in free dental care services.  

GKAS health fair: University of North Carolina School of Nursing students Connor McNicholas and Olivia Wilson speak with a group of children attending the UNC School of Dentistry’s Give Kids A Smile event Feb. 7. The dental school partnered with UNC School of Medicine and UNC School of Nursing in hosting a health fair during the school’s first GKAS event where about 100 children ages 3-5 received more than $16,000 in free dental care services. 

Chapel Hill, N.C.—In its first Give Kids A Smile event on campus, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Feb. 7 provided free dental care to nearly 100 children ages 3-5 years old.

The Durham Head Start preschoolers received dental exams, tooth cleanings and fluoride varnish treatments worth about $16,000.

More than 200 students, residents, staff and faculty members from the UNC School of Dentistry joined thousands of dental volunteers across the country, providing care in conjunction with the American Dental Association’s annual Give Kids A Smile Day. The event was one of eight GKAS events in North Carolina on Feb. 7, and one of about 1,500 in the country.

In addition, the children engaged in an activity health fair where representatives from the UNC School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Gillings School of Global Public Health helped educate the children on oral health, nutritional health and overall health.

“I am particularly proud of the way our Give Kids A Smile Day showed how interdisciplinary collaboration among dental, medical and public health providers can have an impact on our patients and their families,” said Ben Anders, a second-year dental student and one of the event co-chairs. “I believe that our school’s Give Kids A Smile Day exemplifies how successful and fun these collaborations can be.”

For more information visit Give Kids A Smile.

GKAS Day at homeless mission hums along thanks to Institute lessons

Awesome care: Lyla Lepkowski, 10, was a trouper as she received treatment from Bethany Saarion, a dental hygienist who works for 3M ESPE, which sponsored the GKAS Day at Union Gospel Mission. Also helping is Patrick Zawadski, a student at the University of Minnesota 

What a chicken: Gavin Walters, 2, couldn’t get enough of the giant chicken, also known as Joshua Dickman, who is an engineer planning to become a dentist. Mr. Dickman volunteered at the Give Kids A Smile Day event at Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul, Minn. While Gavin had just an exam; his older brother, Mason, 3, sat in the chair longer for an extraction.

St. Paul, Minn.—Lyla Lepkowski swallowed her fears and opened her mouth bravely. The 10-year-old’s mother signed her up two weeks ago for an appointment to receive free dental treatment today at the Give Kids A Smile Day event at Union Gospel Mission here.

“I was nervous,” Lyla admitted. But after it was all over—including X-rays, fluoride treatment, sealants and a cleaning—she decided it was actually “awesome.”

“When I was sitting there I was shaking a little bit, but it turned out great,” she concluded.

After a nervous start, the day seemed to be going well, too, for Jessica Flotterud, dental director at Union Gospel Mission, a faith-based nonprofit that provides an array of services for homeless, poor and drug-addicted people.

Today’s GKAS event at the Mission was the third that Ms. Flotterud, a dental hygienist, organized. But it wasn’t quite the routine she was used to for GKAS. In fact, she set out to make this one bigger and better than ever, which is why she participated in the 2013 GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute last Oct. 23-26 in St. Louis as one of 10 program coordinators who received grants to attend.

The Institute taught her how to scale her event to serve more children and to navigate around roadblocks. It’s a good thing, too, since she encountered one or two challenges during planning, for instance, entertainment for the kids.

“I wanted to get a tooth fairy or a tooth or something like that, and we couldn’t find anything,” said Ms. Flotterud. “But one of my volunteers said, ‘Well, I have a chicken suit.’ So I said, ‘Okay! There’s something that’ll make the kids laugh!'”

Joshua Dickman, an engineer with plans to become a dentist, happily volunteered to don a furry yellow costume with orange feet and served himself up as a chicken. He hoped he could bring moments of levity to the event by entertaining the young patients, who ranged in age from 2 to 17.

Little volunteer: Virgil Hardesty, 11, plays games with other kids who were patients at the Union Gospel Mission GKAS Day event. Virgil participated as a volunteer with his mother, Michelle, a dental hygiene student, and his two sisters Sydney, 9, and Trinity, 12. The Hardesty family entertained GKAS patients before they went to the operatories for treatment and as they awaited buses to take them back to school. The Hardesty kids missed school to volunteer. “It was worth it to help out people here,” said Virgil.

“It takes their minds off what’s going on, why they’re here,” he said. “You peek your head into the little office and check on them, and it’s just like a centerpoint for them to focus on something other than the dentist, the prodding and the poking. I’ve tried to help out with the parents, too. They have like one or two kids or three kids, and one’s scrambling off. I kind of chase them and help out.”

The Institute also taught Ms. Flotterud ways to improve her workflow setup to move young patients along toward treatment. As dental director at the Mission, Ms. Flotterud has often held sway over other free dental events, most often ones for adults. Planning those events helped her scale up her GKAS event.

“I knew stations worked,” she said. “I just didn’t realize it could work with kids until I went to the Institute.”

Ms. Flotterud said that about 180 patients signed on for appointments to receive fillings, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, X-rays and oral hygiene education. She also had 90 volunteers, including dentists, hygienists, dental students, dental therapists and dental therapy students, who manned a sign-in reception station, an oral care education station, a pre-treatment exam station, and five operatories—all spread out on two floors.

The Minnesota Dental Association supported the Mission’s GKAS Day event and sponsorship came from 3M ESPE and Health Partners.

Charitable team: Dr. Laura Eng (left), a local general dentist in private practice, and Jayne Grout, a dental assistant who works with her, Feb. 7 treat 7-year-old Lori Decora, at the Union Gospel Mission Give Kids A Smile Day in St. Paul, Minn. Dr. Eng and Ms. Grout regularly participate in free clinics providing dental care around Minnesota.

Dr. Patrick McGann, a local general dentist who is a longtime volunteer at the Mission, served on the advisory committee for the Mission ‘s 2014 GKAS Day event.

“Jessica’s doing a great job as a leader of the dental clinic at the Union Gospel Mission,” he said. “We’ve been doing Give Kids A Smile for several years, and each year we try to get a little bit better with more services and little bit more organized so we can see more people.”

Ms. Flotterud is already thinking about future GKAS events at the clinic, perhaps even another one this year. Lessons from the GKAS Institute and today’s GKAS event have taught her a few things. “I’ve already learned some lessons this morning with the X-ray thing and seeing how slow it is upstairs,” she said. “We can either downsize that or maybe next year I could get in some portable units and have hygiene upstairs as well.”

Team Smile ramps up its game

Teamwork: Kids from Hickman Mills, Holiday Montessori and Benjamin Banneker Charter schools in Kansas City, Mo., are thrilled to meet Kansas City Chiefs football players at a TeamSmile event Oct. 22, 2013, at Arrowhead Stadium. Chiefs players include, from left, Sean McGrath, Ryan Succop and Dexter McCluster.Dentists include Dr. Tucker J. VanYperen, a volunteer dentist from Kansas City, Mo., (in red scrubs) and Dr. William Busch, TeamSmile co-founder (in black scrubs).

Kansas City, Mo.—2013 was a championship season for TeamSmile, the Kansas City-based nonprofit dental organization that creates connections between children’s service groups, dental professionals and professional sports organizations to provide care and education to underserved children nationwide.

Last year, TeamSmile volunteers nearly doubled their 2012 program results, reaching more than 3,200 children and providing, nearly $1.5 million in care at 14 programs with sports teams including the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals.

In December 2013, the Georgia Dental Association joined together with TeamSmile and the ADA’s Give Kids A Smile program to conduct a joint GKAS/TeamSmile program in Atlanta, with several Atlanta Falcon players in attendance. The program was made possible by a generous donation from CareCredit to the ADA Foundation Give Kids A Smile Fund. (See related story.)

“The reason I started TeamSmile in 2007 was to give back to my community,” said Dr. William Busch. “We continue to grow because the need is there; we continue to grow because the community is willing to help children in need; we continue to grow because a smile is worth saving and everyone—professional sports teams and players, corporate sponsors, community leaders and finally our wonderful dental community back up this belief. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us.”

Kids participating in TeamSmile programs at stadiums, schools and community centers receive extensive health education, from oral health care to nutrition and the importance of staying active. Volunteer dental professionals team up with professional sports organizations and supporters in the community to inspire kids to be healthy and enable kids without access to dental care to receive needed dental education and treatment.

“TeamSmile believes that most children are familiar with their hometown sports teams and look up to the players on these teams,” Dr. Busch added. “As a dentist, I know that children sometimes shy away from going to the dentist because of the fear of what may happen. TeamSmile takes the spirit behind sport organizations and adds it to a dental outreach event to create an experience that makes children want to visit the dentist. Children are excited about going to a sports stadium to receive dental care and meet players, cheerleaders and mascots from the team. The support of these sports franchises makes TeamSmile programs an extraordinary dental program experience.”

Since its founding in 2007, TeamSmile has expanded steadily. In the last two years, it has grown about 500 percent.

A typical TeamSmile program hosts about 300 children for dental screenings, X-rays and dental treatment followed by oral education and a fluoride varnish treatment. Sponsors for the program include Midmark Dental, Colgate, DEXIS and Henry Schein Cares.

Several 2014 programs are already scheduled. For more details, visit

Shout out for GKAS sponsors

Washington—Let’s hear it for Give Kids A Smile corporate sponsors, ADA President Dr. Charles Norman said at a DC Dental Society Foundation reception Feb. 6 honoring GKAS volunteers and community partners.

“The work we do with Give Kids A Smile would not be possible without their ongoing generous support,” he said, introducing representatives of:

  • Henry Schein Dental, exclusive GKAS provider of professional dental products, with “special thanks to Tim Sullivan,” president;
  • Colgate, exclusive GKAS provider of consumer dental products, with “special thanks to Dr. Barbara Shearer,” director of scientific affairs at Colgate-Oral Pharmaceuticals, and
  • DEXIS, with “special thanks to Candy Ross,” director of industry and professional relations, dental technologies, NA, KaVo Kerr Group.

Speaking at the reception and the following morning at the 2014 GKAS national kickoff event at the Howard University College of Dentistry, they talked of children, community and oral health.

  • Mr. Sullivan: Give Kids A Smile includes all facets of the dental community, organized dentistry at the local, state and national levels, the academic world of dental schools and researchers, dental industry and sponsors and many other individuals and companies.
  • Dr. Shearer: This is a public-private partnership. We are giving children the oral health education they need. I see the difference it makes in children’s lives.
  • Ms. Ross: I get emotional this day. You all get gifts, the gift of helping kids. We can and we should continue to serve the underserved.

Dr. Sally Cram, president of the DC Dental Society Foundation, also gave a shout out to local GKAS partners, introducing Benco Dental’s regional manager and announcing, “For the first time this year, we have community sponsorship for our [DC Dental] Foundation and Give Kids a Smile day from a non-dental corporation, TD Bank.”