Holocaust Survivors Program Earns Gies Award

Dentistry Today


The Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program has received a William J. Gies Award for Vision, Innovation, and Achievement for its mission to provide free oral healthcare to Holocaust survivors living in poverty across North America. 

The program was launched in November 2014 in response to the White House’s call to action to help Holocaust survivors age with dignity and respect. Since its inception, it has provided free dental care to nearly 1,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States and Canada.

A third of the 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States are impoverished, Henry Schein reports. These survivors often have special oral health needs because of the prolonged nutritional deprivation and lack of dental care they suffered as children during World War II.

Care recipients are identified by the network of Jewish Family and Children’s Service agencies or other partner organizations as well as people of any faith who were victims of Nazi persecution and meet the program’s other eligibility requirements.

In addition to financial need, patient participation is prioritized by three factors: the elimination of pain, restoration of function, and lack of dental coverage. Participating clinicians determine each patient’s scope of care.

“It is truly our privilege to work with these incredible survivors and help restore their ability to eat without pain and smile with confidence,” said Avi Wurman, DDS, Alpha Omega (AO) past international president and program co-chair.

“This highly innovative program exemplifies the power of collaboration across sectors, from the more than 475 AO dentists who volunteer their services to the dental schools, social service agencies, corporate partners, and philanthropic donors who are critical to the program’s success,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein.

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