When the Growing Smiles Foundation embarked on its recent annual mission to provide comprehensive oral health treatment to underserved children in Peru, it was well stocked with more than $18,000 in dental supplies and equipment such as gloves, restorative materials, and dental handpieces donated by Henry Schein. The donation is an initiative of Henry Schein Cares, the company’s global corporate social responsibility program.
Comprising two pediatric dentists, three pediatric dental residents, a periodontist, a dental hygienist, and 17 dental students from Temple University’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry (TUKSoD), the Growing Smiles team treated about 220 patients, 190 of whom were children at the Jose Maria Arguedas Elementary School in Chorrillos.
The team worked with the dental school at the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC) to administer more than 140 cleanings and fluoride treatments, more than 100 restorative treatments, more than 450 sealants, and dozens of extractions and other minor operations. Faculty and students from UPC visit the elementary school three or four times a week each school year to provide oral health education, preventive dental services, and referrals to the dental school for follow-up care.
“Henry Schein’s support helps foster a generation of dental students who understand the beauty of offering one’s skills and expertise to help the underserved,” said Growing Smiles Foundation founder and TUKSoD graduate Bari Levine, DMD, MPH. “Also, Henry Schein’s support allows us to focus on patient care and improving the lives of patients who may not be able to access quality dental care.”
Since 2013 when the program was launched, TUKSoD students and faculty have treated more than 1,000 patients in Peru. Most of these patients are children living at La Sagrada Familia orphanage outside the capital city of Lima or who attend Jose Maria Arguedas Elementary School.
“Every child, regardless of the circumstances of their lives, deserves quality healthcare, and it is wonderful to see the next generation of oral health professionals understand the impact their skills can have on the oral health, and by extension overall health, of children in need,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein. “I applaud Dr. Levine and her colleagues for their efforts on behalf of the children of Peru and around the world.”