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ADA Foundation distinguishes GKAS award recipients

Hawaii dentist and Premier CEO to receive Smile Champion Award

October 02, 2017

By Matt Carey


Ms. Charlestein

Mr. Morita
The president of the Hawaii Dental Association’s Young Dentist Group and the head of Premier Dental Products Co. are the recipients of the ADA Foundation’s Smile Champion Awards for Give Kids A Smile, the Foundation announced in September.

Dr. Scott Morita will receive the 2017 Jeffrey Dalin, D.D.S. GKAS Volunteer Award and Julie Charlestein will get the 2017 Steven W. Kess GKAS Corporate Volunteer Award. They will receive their awards at the Give Kids A Smile Volunteer Recognition Reception Oct. 19 during ADA 2017 in Atlanta.

Dr. Morita earned his doctorate in dental surgery at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of University of Southern California. He also has a master’s degree in craniofacial biology and a certificate in orthodontics.

Dr. Morita organized the first Give Kids A Smile Hawaii event in 2014. Since then, the program has developed into a yearly education program at public elementary schools that has reached more than 3,000 children. The program also hosts a large event day at Makahiki Dental Clinic in Honolulu, where 350 children receive free cleanings,  exams and fluoride treatments. Dr. Morita was also instrumental in the establishment of the Hawaii Dental Association Foundation. The nonprofit 501(c)3 foundation will encompass GKAS Hawaii.

“We have worked on raising public awareness by arranging for proclamations to be signed by the governor of Hawaii and the mayor of Honolulu, and the state senate, recognizing February as Give Kids A Smile Hawaii Month,” said Dr. Morita.

Ms. Charlestein is the president and CEO of Premier Dental Products Company, a business started by her great-grandfather in 1913. Ms. Charlestein also serves on the board of overseers for the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the dean’s advisory council at Temple University Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry.

“GKAS is a program of the utmost importance whose mission Premier fully supports,” said Ms. Charlestein. “We are so fortunate to be able to develop meaningful innovations that deliver better oral health to the children that GKAS touches. Engrained in Premier’s culture is the importance of community involvement and the recognition that all are deserving.”

Since 2012, the ADA Foundation’s Smile Champion Awards for Give Kids A Smile have recognized outstanding volunteer and corporate efforts to strengthen and expand the Give Kids A Smile program. To learn more about this and other ADA Foundation programs, visit ADAFoundation.org.