Soap actress named New Jersey Give Kids A Smile spokeswoman
January 16, 2012
By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News staff
Dayton, N.J.—Brooke English's smile was usually directed at Adam Chandler. Or Tad Martin. Or Edmund Grey. Or Tom Cudahy.
They were some of her many husbands on the soap opera, "All My Children." Julia Barr, the actress who portrayed Brooke for nearly 30 years, is more particular with her smile, aiming either for her husband, oral surgeon Dr. Richard Hirschlag, or her daughter.
Either way, Ms. Barr knows the importance of a good smile and how lucky she is to have access to great dental care. It's why she agreed to be the spokeswoman for New Jersey's Give Kids A Smile campaign this year.
"This is such a worthwhile cause on every level," Ms. Barr said during a phone interview. "I think with information, people learn what they can do to provide better care for their children. I know all parents, if they can, want their children to be as healthy and happy as they can."
Ms. Barr has taped a series of public service announcements to promote GKAS. They will be made available to be shared on websites and social media pages for participating GKAS locations in New Jersey and can also be seen on Delta Dental of New Jersey's YouTube website, www.youtube.com/deltadentalofnj. Delta Dental underwrote the PSAs.
Ms. Barr hopes the video spots will encourage parents to seek out dentists who are participating in GKAS, like her husband. Dr. Hirschlag has volunteered his services for GKAS for about five years, she said.
Choosing Ms. Barr to be the spokeswoman for New Jersey was a no-brainer for the state's dental association.
"For many children in New Jersey, GKAS day represents their first trip ever to a dental office. The fun and educational atmosphere leads to good feelings about going to the dentist and begins a lifelong relationship with good oral health," said Dr. Cavan M. Brunsden, statewide chair of GKAS New Jersey. "We've impacted more than 25,000 children in New Jersey since 2003 with our GKAS program and our work has only just begun. Parents and school nurses alike look forward to our program each year. The good will the dental community receives from GKAS is extremely overwhelming and recognized by all."
Leading lady: Actress Julia Barr stands with husband, Dr. Richard Hirschlag, who’s an oral surgeon in New Jersey.
Dr. Hirschlag has been in practice for nearly 30 years, often coming home at the end of the day and sharing stories with Ms. Barr. So she understands the need for such an event.
"I think it's a good feeling for me and for my husband and for all the health professionals involved because you bring awareness to this problem," Ms. Barr said. "It seems so simple and so basic but not all kids are fortunate enough to benefit, and the fact that oral health is connected to our overall health makes it more important. I'm really glad to be a part of it and I hope it gets a lot of notice."
To find a GKAS program in New Jersey, visit www.njda.org/GKAS. For more information on the ADA's GKAS program, visit Give Kids a Smile.