Representatives of Henry Schein and the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity (AO) visited Washington, DC, on April 25—Holocaust Remembrance Day—for a panel discussion designed to educate Capitol Hill legislative staff about the oral health needs of Holocaust survivors living in poverty as well as the successes of the Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program.
More than 30 AO dentists from across the United States who volunteer for the program also attended the event and met with their local legislators to discuss its impact. Launched in 2014 in response to the White House’s call to help Holocaust survivors age with dignity and respect, the program has provided free dental care to more than 600 Holocaust survivors across North America.
Rep. Thomas Suozzi of New York delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day and lauded the program, saying it “serves as a model for what we can accomplish when we work together to help those in need.” Suozzi’s remarks in their entirety were entered into the Congressional Record.
The network of Jewish Family and Children’s Service agencies and other partner organizations identify care recipients, which include 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 the elimination of pain, restoration of function, and lack of dental coverage. Participating clinicians determine each patient’s scope of care.
The program is designed to fill a critical need for many of the 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States, one third of whom live in poverty. Survivors often have special oral health needs, and many of them suffered from prolonged nutritional deprivation and had little to no dental care access as children during World War II.
“The Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program demonstrates the impact that innovative partnerships can have on the oral health, overall health, and quality of life of this most deserving population,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein. “In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we gathered to educate our nation’s leadership and ask for their support in propelling action to ensure that Holocaust survivors live their lives in comfort and dignity.”