In the largest single commitment in its 33-year history, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) Foundation has allocated up to $1.6 million to provide all practicing AAPD member pediatric dentists with one 50-count box supply of KN95 masks.
Understanding that childhood tooth decay is among the most chronic childhood diseases, the collaboration between AAPD, its foundation, and Henry Schein reinforces a commitment to safely serve patient families with access to care during the pandemic.
“Oral health is integral to children’s overall health and personal protection equipment (PPE) availability should not be a barrier to dental care,” said AAPD president Dr. Jessica Lee. “We are grateful to Henry Schein for helping make these masks available to our members, without financial gain, and to the Foundation for underwriting this important access to care effort.”
The AAPD Foundation said its donation of critical PPE is an extension of its access-to-care mission. It is purchasing the KN95 masks, including paying sales tax and shipping. The AAPD is handling the ordering logistics for its members. Henry Schein is leveraging its supply chain network to provide implementation assistance at its cost.
“As practices open across the country, the Academy and Foundation want to make sure there are as few delays as possible in children receiving the care they need,” said Foundation president Dr. Charles Czerepak. “Henry Schein’s quick response to offer essential supplies will help prevent disruptions in patient care that can help prevent treatable cases from turning into emergencies.”
While manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors face unprecedented demand, coupled with supply chain gaps worldwide, Henry Schein understood the AAPD members’ frontline role in providing care to the nation’s children and the need to ensure this workforce’s protection, the AAPD said.
“We are privileged that the Academy and Foundation approached us for assistance in securing PPE for its membership and administering this important project,” said AJ Caffentzis, president, US dental distribution, at Henry Schein.
“As part of Henry Schein’s dedication to helping health happen, we recognize pediatric dentists’ critical public health role and welcome the opportunity to contribute towards supporting these essential providers who ensure the oral health and overall welfare of our children,” Caffentzis said.
This collaboration is part of the AAPD’s broader effort to provide resources to ensure practice readiness and safe, comprehensive care. In April, the AAPD released a guide for reopening practices, and it continues its work with local, state, and federal government agencies to ensure they recognize children’s oral healthcare as essential healthcare.
“Our members are valuable community child advocates who not only provide quality dental care but can help test for and prevent the future spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” Lee said.
In addition to access to KN95 masks, the Foundation’s $1.6 million commitment will help fund the development of a public education campaign emphasizing dental office safety and help raise awareness about the importance of access to oral healthcare for children. The campaign will feature social media, direct-to-consumer outreach, and materials for member use in their practices.
“Henry Schein was moved by the bold action of the Academy and the Foundation to help its membership in these turbulent times, and we are honored to reciprocate in support of pediatric dentists, the children they serve, and our wider communities,” said Caffentzis.
“The receptiveness and enthusiasm of the Henry Schein team has been tremendous,” said Academy and Foundation CEO Dr. John Rutkauskas. “They went the extra mile to help us ensure dentists treating kids will have KN95 masks available to them as they reopen their practices.”