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GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute

Over the past 10 years, the American Dental Association's Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) Program has provided education and oral health care to nearly 500,000 underserved children annually. The program continues to evolve and become a more comprehensive program, particularly through the provision of continuity of care and the establishment of dental homes for children. 

Since 2007 a symposium has been held in St. Louis, where the program began. The Give Kids A Smile Institute offers individuals the opportunity to learn, in-person, how to initiate, expand and/or enhance a GKAS program. The GKAS Institute offers each participant a comprehensive training curriculum and an opportunity to interact with experienced GKAS staff. The Institute takes place annually in October. After completing the Institute, participants are considered to be a GKAS Institute Ambassador. Ambassadors can then be leaders in their community to share what they learned from the GKAS Institute.

2012 GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute

The 2012 Institute was sponsored by Hu-Friedy, Henry Schein Cares and the ADA Foundation.

Ambassadors observed and served as volunteers at the at St. Louis University Center for Advanced Dental Education GKAS program, where volunteers provided more than $400,000 in services to 525 children. The program provides free dental care and education to hundreds of children from low-income families twice a year. Since it was founded in February 2002, the program has provided more than $4.6 million in dental care for 10,630 patients (before the October 2012 clinic).

Congratulations to the 2012 GKAS Institute Ambassadors:

  • Lisa Bahr, Waukesha County, WI
  • Ana Gomez, Burbank, CA
  • Erica Gregory, Elizabeth City, NC
  • Dr. Sara Kalambur, Upper Montclair, NJ
  • Stephanie McCray, Kansas City, MO
  • Shawna Rohner, Hillsboro, OR
  • Julie Vaughn, Gainesville, GA
  • Dr. Amber Weems, Dallas, TX
  • Dr. Meelin Dian Chin Kit-Wells, University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, NY
  • Judith Zirkle, Bridgeton, NJ  

GKAS Institute Webinar

Tiny Smiles: It’s Never Too Early for Happy, Healthy Teeth
As an extension of the GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute, the Give Kids A Smile National Advisory Committee and program sponsors Hu-Friedy, Henry Schein® Cares and the ADA Foundation welcome you to their first webinar. Caring for young children’s teeth is an important part of keeping their bodies healthy. The St. Louis Give Kids A Smile Tiny Smiles Program and Sesame Workshop are teaming up to spread the word about the importance of preventive oral health care for children ages 0 – 4.  Learn how to start a GKAS Tiny Smiles clinic and become familiar with the “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me,” Sesame Street multimedia outreach initiative.

Date: Thursday, Dec.13, 2012

Time: 2 PM CST (Noon PST; 3PM EST). Webinar will last approximately 75 minutes. This webinar will be recorded and posted on the website at a later date.

St. Louis Give Kids A Smile Tiny Smiles Clinic
The St. Louis GKAS Tiny Smiles portion of the webinar will describe the importance of early caries risk assessment and how the Tiny Smiles philosophy can decrease the amount of decay typically seen in older children living in these same demographics. Dr. Hollander will provide a brief history of how the St. Louis GKAS Tiny Smiles clinic came to be, and what resources and personnel are utilized to make the clinic a success.  He will also describe how the St. Louis GKAS program takes care of those infants and toddlers who have dental restorative needs.

Craig Hollander, D.D.S., M.S.: Dr. Craig Hollander has been a private practice pediatric dentist in St. Louis, Missouri for the past 21 years. He received a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan and his DDS from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry in 1988. After completing a general practice residency at Miami Children’s Hospital, Coral Gables, Florida, he received his masters in pediatric dentistry at the University of Iowa in 1991. Dr. Hollander is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and was named the 2005 Missouri Dental Association Dentist of the Year for his work with children's oral health initiatives. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Give Kids A Smile and is a founder of the Tiny Smiles Clinic concept. 

Additional Resources:

Sesame Workshop: Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me
Young children's teeth is an important part of keeping their whole bodies healthy — strong baby teeth set the stage for strong permanent teeth, and help children play, learn, and grow. In this portion of the webinar, you will have the opportunity to learn about “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me,” Sesame Street’s free bilingual, multimedia outreach initiative, that motivates children 2 to 5 years of age, their parents, and their caregivers to start caring for children’s oral health early. You will be introduced to free materials with tips, strategies, and activities to help empower parents and caregivers care for teeth with their child.

Amelia Swabb: Amelia Swabb has a BA in Psychology from Brown University and a MA in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She currently works as a Senior Curriculum Specialist in the Educational Outreach and Content Design department at Sesame Workshop, creating bilingual, multi-media, needs-based initiatives for young children, parents, caregivers, child care providers. Previous work experience includes developing preschool curriculum materials and editing an online magazine for early childhood educators and professionals, at Scholastic, Inc. She has also had experience working in preschool classrooms in Rhode Island and New York City.

Additional Resources:

Questions: Contact the GKAS Team at

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