“Thank you SO much! I don’t know what I would do without your program! I was feeling like a failure as a parent because my baby was in pain, and I couldn’t do anything to relieve her of it. I am forever grateful to you!”
Problem Statement: The U.S. Surgeon General identified Early Childhood Caries (EEC) as the most common chronic childhood disease. EEC, caused by bacteria transfer, is a highly infectious disease. About 80% of dental disease, including ECC, is concentrated in 20-25% of children, primarily those from low-income and /or minority populations. Surprisingly, EEC it is five times more prevalent than asthma.
Goal of the Program: Improve the oral health of low-income children by providing preventative dental treatment to uninsured and under-insured children in Sonoma County, 0-18 years of age. Also, to provide access to dental insurance and dental homes through referrals and case management.
Since 2005, Give Kids a Smile Day (GKASD), a program of Community Action Partnership, has been serving the dental needs of the underserved children of Sonoma County. In the past ten years, GKASD has provided dental services to over 5,000 children who would not have otherwise had access to care.
2020 marked the 16th year of GKASD in Sonoma County! Six different clinics and private dental offices participated in the event. During the two-day event, 197 children received exams, cleanings, and fluoride treatments. Since 2014, our chairperson has been selected to visit ADA headquarters in Chicago, IL every two years as part of a national Give Kids A Smile Advisory Board to work on implementing improvements and changes to the national GKAS program and in helping improve the branding and marketing of GKAS on a national level.
Over the years, we have received numerous “Gold Resolutions” from the Department of Public Health with the County of Sonoma in recognition of the positive impact of our work in the community. These resolutions have been presented to our Executive Director Susan Cooper, St. Josephs Dental Clinic, Indian Health Dental Clinic, and Sahouria Pediatric Dentistry. Present at these events were many prominent members of the dental community such as, State Assemblyman Jim Wood, the President of the Redwood Empire Dental Society, members of the board of Community Action Partnership, and a member of the board of Supervisors.
Now, as we celebrate our 16th Anniversary of GKAS! Day in Sonoma County, we hope to continue to partner with more dental professionals and supporters to help children achieve optimal dental health.
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