May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3

 
 
 
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A Message from your HSHC President

September 2016 Volume LI Number 5

The Busy Season Never Ends for Underserved Children

Congratulations! With the calendar page turned to September, the kids are back in school and another busy season is behind us. While this past summer was my first in 38 years that I wasn’t hopping from patient to patient like all of you— it was my first year of full retirement—September brings a collective exhale like no other time of the year.

For me, it was always great to have that busy period behind me, but it wasn’t long before I was missing the bustling activity, smiles from grateful moms and the bear hugs from returning patients who are excited to be at the dentist’s office.

But, as busy as we all were during our busy season, how many children didn’t go to the dentist during the past summer? How many children haven’t gone to the dentist in the past year? The past five years? Ever?

We’ve heard every reason possible from adults. We’re so busy. She was at camp. He is afraid.

But, what about the hundreds of thousands of children nationwide who haven’t been to the dentist because their parents can’t get time off from their hourly-wage jobs, or don’t have reliable transportation, or are dealing with so many other larger challenges that oral health doesn’t receive priority attention until it’s reached crisis proportions?

These are the kids I think about now since taking the helm of Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children as its president. I think about them all the time. These kids are my patients now.

Yes, more than 300,000 children have Dental Homes thanks to our grantees and our donors’ collec- tive generosity. Yet, I think about all the moms who wish they could take their children to the dentist if they could. I think about the children who haven’t yet learned that going to the dentist is not something to fear, but something they can look forward to for the rest of their lives.

Our grantees do amazing work. From providing high quality dental care to arranging rides and helping families overcome other barriers; they put the children first.

AAPD members do amazing work, too. In fact, we learned through the AAPD membership survey earlier this year that 81 percent of members provided some form of pro bono care last year.

Not including those who provide care via missions overseas, the average AAPD member provided pro bono care to 53 children. Whether it was in their prac- tices, volunteering at a local clinic or in a larger scale all-ages dental care event, the average AAPD member provided upwards of 68 hours in volunteer care. The value of this care? An average of $8,000 per AAPD member!

The busy season might be behind us for now. But, whether it’s in your practices, your communities or through the work of HSHC grantees, the busy season never really ends when it comes to caring for the un- derserved children.

Thank you for all you do to help children everywhere!

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