ADA Celebrates Give Kids a Smile 20th Anniversary at Smilecon™ 2022

Anniversary Reception to Honor ADA Award Winners


CHICAGO, October 13, 2022 — Launched nationally in 2003, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Give Kids A Smile® (GKAS) program provides free oral health care services to underserved children through thousands of local volunteers at GKAS events across the United States. More than seven million underserved children across the country have received free oral health services through the GKAS program. In commemoration of its 20th anniversary, ADA will host a celebration reception that will also honor ADA Presidential Citation Award winner, Mr. Steve Kess, Vice President of Global Relations at Henry Schein and ADA Humanitarian Award winner, Dr. Jeffrey Dalin, co-founder, GKAS, St. Louis.

The reception offers the ADA with an opportunity to celebrate the impact GKAS has made through the years and also express gratitude to the many supporters of the program. The success of GKAS would not be possible without the thousands of dentists and dental team members that volunteer each year, in addition to, the overwhelming support provided by companies, both financially and through in-kind donated oral health products. GKAS coordinators from across the U.S. were invited to attend, as well as representatives from GKAS national sponsors, Colgate-Palmolive and Henry Schein, ADA leadership, and other industry supporters throughout the past 20 years.

“Oral health equity is a priority for the ADA and the need for GKAS has never been greater than over the past couple years,” said Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S., president of the ADA. “It gives me immense pleasure to recognize two individuals during the 20th anniversary celebration reception, who have been incomparable leaders in the successes of this program. Dr. Dalin, named the 2022 recipient of the ADA’s Humanitarian Award, and Mr. Kess, recipient of the ADA’s Presidential Citation Award. Both of these individuals are extremely deserving of these prestigious awards.”

The ADA Presidential Citation Award, given at the discretion of the current president, honors Mr. Kess for his tireless and dedicated efforts to the national Give Kids A Smile program. “Henry Schein has supported the Give Kids A Smile program since its inception, and from the very first year, Steve Kess has worked alongside the ADA and others to act as a catalyst to help expand the program exponentially for underserved and underrepresented populations through public/private partnerships,” said Stanley Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Henry Schein, Inc. “His work with Give Kids A Smile to enhance access to care is a testament to his passion for helping people in need. On behalf of Team Schein, we congratulate Steve on his well-deserved award.”

Henry Schein has served as the exclusive professional product sponsor of Give Kids A Smile for two decades. Each year through Henry Schein Cares, the Company’s global corporate social responsibility program, Henry Schein and its generous supplier partners donate product valued at approximately $1 million, which are then kitted and shipped to local events.

Since 2007, Colgate has served as the exclusive consumer product sponsor of Give Kids A Smile. In addition to donating 250,000 toothbrushes and toothpaste annually to the program, Colgate has contributed more than $1.5 million in funding to support GKAS initiatives that coincide with the company’s mission to connect underserved communities with oral health resources.

“Colgate-Palmolive is proud to be a long-time supporter of the Give Kids A Smile program to promote oral health literacy, which is foundational for children’s overall health and well-being,” said Dawna Michelle Fields, Director, Operations & Community Affairs, Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Program, Colgate-North America. “Through our Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, Colgate partners with organizations like the American Dental Association to reach underserved children and their families where they are born, live, work, learn and play. Colgate’s support of Give Kids A Smile helps build proper oral care habits and reflects the Company’s purpose to reimagine a healthier future for all.”

Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn and #SmileCon2022 for updates from SmileCon.

About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 159,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), published monthly, is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website