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Dental home a priority

GKAS Symposium emphasizes continuity

Sue Dodd of SCD Healthcare Consulting in Duluth, Ga., participates in the GKAS Symposium roundtable discussion
Forum: Sue Dodd of SCD Healthcare Consulting in Duluth, Ga., participates in the GKAS Symposium roundtable discussion.
Looking for strategies to use their Give Kids A Smile or similar programs as a springboard to find dental homes for underserved children, more than 130 participants attended the annual GKAS Promising Practices Symposium July 22-23 at ADA Headquarters.

The conference titled, "Raising the Momentum Through Continuity of Care: Finding Dental Homes for America’s Children," included programs on health literacy in dentistry, continuity of care, care and management of uninsured children, dental safety net solutions, Medicaid, incorporating dental student volunteers plus a variety of nuts-and-bolts topics to enhance individual access to care programs. It was co-sponsored by the ADA and ADA Foundation with a grant from the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation.

"As we expand the GKAS program to more than just a day, the enthusiasm of the attendees at the symposium was very encouraging," said ADA President Ron Tankersley, who attended the meeting. "The next step in providing continuity of care for these kids is finding them a dental home. So, the symposium’s theme was directly on target."

ADA Foundation

"We want to thank the DTA Foundation for their support in providing this annual forum for networking and exchange among Give Kids A Smile volunteers," said Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni, ADA Foundation president.

Dental Trade Alliance Foundation logo
DTAF Chair Carolyn Van Eck welcomed participants to the targeted conference. "The mission of the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation is committed to closing the gap on access to care for those with the highest need," she said. "We know the impact that GKAS and their partners have had on this issue, and we are happy to support any effort to bridge continuity of care."

Participants spanned beyond dentists, team members, dental society staff and dental students. School nurses, safety net personnel, educators and other stakeholders also shared strategies to make their local access to care programs a community collaboration that meets the dental needs of underserved children all year long.

Dr. Jeff Dalin, co-founder of Give Kids A Smile, engages the audience with a lunchtime session July 23
Learning lunch: Dr. Jeff Dalin, co-founder of Give Kids A Smile, engages the audience with a lunchtime session July 23 on how to organize volunteers.
"In addition to finding solutions for getting needed dental care to the children, the GKAS project enhances the sense of professionalism and purpose for those dentists, allied dental personnel and other proponents of oral health who participate in its planning and implementation," said Dr. Tankersley. "Everyone benefits."

More than 80 percent of those attending were participating in the symposium for the first time, and many presenters were GKAS program coordinators who have developed novel and successful strategies to overcome challenges to offer the children they serve continuity in dental care and a dental home.

Special thanks to ADA Strategic Partner Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., makers of sugar-free Orbit, for their generous product donation during the symposium.

Proceedings from the symposium will be available in October on the GKAS website, www.givekidsasmile.ada.org.

GKAS program coordinators planning for the 2011 GKAS Day on Friday, Feb. 4, can find a GKAS program planning toolbox online (www.ada.org/3460.aspx).

Registration for GKAS Day 2011 and requests for GKAS products opens Oct. 1 on www.givekidsasmile.ada.org.