Howard College of Dentistry celebrates 2021 Give Young ones A Smile Working day

April 16, 2021

Howard 2021 GKAS Group Pic
All smiles: Dental pupils and volunteers rejoice the April 9 Give Young ones A Smile event at the Howard College Higher education of Dentistry.

— COVID-19 has taken so lots of factors absent from youngsters — from canceled playdates and birthday functions to even larger items like the loss of a cherished one particular or a parent’s occupation. For these explanations, LaToya Barham, D.D.S., understood that now, much more than ever, it was important to give again.

That need to serve was the spark for this year’s Give Little ones A Smile Day celebration at the Howard University College or university of Dentistry.

“I examine an post in The Journal of the American Dental Affiliation that mentioned dentistry was now the No. 1 most unmet have to have for youngsters, partly because of to this pandemic and partly because a ton of parents shed their employment and their insurance was subsequently lost,” mentioned Dr. Barham, a pediatric dentist and affiliate professor and clinic coordinator for Howard’s pediatric predoctoral application. “With the globe remaining so turned upside down and then figuring out that these kids have shed their stability with no in-man or woman faculty and seeking to master from property, it genuinely bought to me.”

“We seriously just wished to give one thing wonderful for these small children and their households,” she said.

Dental students Siena Romano and Desiree Conton clean a child's teeth
Furnishing treatment: Fourth-yr dental college students Siena Romano, from remaining, and Desiree Conton clean a younger patient’s enamel for the duration of GKAS.

Supplying back was just what Dr. Barham and dozens of Howard’s dental faculty, students, workers and volunteers did for the kids of the District of Columbia and surrounding spots. In the course of the school’s April 9 GKAS occasion, third- and fourth-year dental college students — who have been supervised by school — and dental inhabitants performed cleanings on about 50 kids and also supplied fluoride solutions and sealants.

“This celebration suggests so much to the local community,” said Andrea Jackson, D.D.S, dean, Howard College College of Dentistry. “We experienced to do a little something.”

“This is our 18th calendar year,” added Donna Grant-Mills, D.D.S., affiliate dean for university student affairs and admissions.

In a normal 12 months, Howard retains its GKAS party on the ADA’s national kickoff working day, which happens on the first Friday of February for the duration of Nationwide Children’s Dental Well being Thirty day period, and delivers treatment to small children from a area elementary college it adopts for the event.

Drs LaToya Barham and Andrea Jackson of Howard
Providing back again: LaToya Barham, D.D.S., from left, and Howard Dental Dean Andrea Jackson, D.D.S., explained GKAS is a way to give back again to the D.C. local community.

This 12 months, with a lot of D.C. even now shut in February thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, organizers made the decision to shift the occasion to April and expected mom and dad and caregivers to register their young children for appointments in progress. The university also placed the concentration on preventive care in buy to see as several people as doable. Small children in require of more oral overall health solutions were scheduled abide by-up appointments at the school’s dental clinic. Organizers also distribute out appointment instances, reserving little ones at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in purchase to sustain social distancing and to have ample time to clear operatories in between individuals. Dr. Barham credited the ADA webinar, Keeping a Give Children A Smile Celebration all through COVID-19, with encouraging the college prepare the party.

For the duration of their shifts, dental college students took more time to make certain they had the good personal protecting machines with everybody donning gowns, encounter shields or protecting eyewear, and most were being double-masked. To enable ensure courses are safe and sound and helpful, the ADA offered method coordinators with scheduling resources, webinars, toolkits and further donated PPE the Affiliation obtained from the countrywide stockpile following meeting with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Section of Well being and Human Products and services and the White Residence Undertaking Power for COVID-19 response in 2020.

“I experienced a blast volunteering at this year’s GKAS celebration. As a person who stems from a solitary-dad or mum house, I have an understanding of firsthand the struggle a lot of moms and dads have with trying to keep up with their child’s oral health care,” said fourth-yr pupil Breanna Benbow, who supplied prophys and sealants to two pre-teenage patients. “Between insurance policy expenditures and operate schedules, it can be definitely hard getting obtain to quality dental care. To be in a position to perform on the frontlines and supply that very same top quality dental treatment totally free of charge to these young children in want, I am truly overcome with a sense of gratitude and humility. And I am excited to be equipped to share in these kinds of a selfless practical experience.”

Photo of GKAS event at Howard University College of Dentistry
Effective check out: Dental learners Neda Adibi, from remaining, and Saman Adibi pose with mother Ayanna No cost, far ideal, and her youngsters just after they attend GKAS.

At the end of the appointments, clients and their people were also presented goody bags as very well as discount codes for absolutely free foods from Chick-fil-A.

“We just wanted to make this a entire special take care of in the middle of all the things that has been turned all around for them,” Dr. Barham explained.

“I would inspire any individual who’s interested in any type of community company or serving their community to get concerned in community events this sort of as GKAS,” Ms. Benbow said. “It’s a actually excellent way to aid in the fight against dental well being disparities whilst generating a long lasting impact on the long term of oral health and fitness treatment.”

Despite worries offered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ADA anticipates some 40,000 GKAS volunteers providing oral overall health care and training to somewhere around 300,000 underserved young children in the U.S. all over 2021. With the assist of the GKAS nationwide sponsors, Colgate and Henry Schein, as nicely as other supplier lover providers, the ADA’s GKAS software presented cure and education kits for local volunteers to use at their activities. The ADA also continues to be fully commited to providing methods to area GKAS software coordinators and volunteers who are looking at or arranging a GKAS celebration.

For much more information about Give Little ones A Smile, pay a visit to