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GKAS partnership thrives at Howard U.

February 04, 2013

By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff

Washington—Give Kids A Smile day is all about partnership in the nation's capital, and fifth grader Cindy Guevara may extend that partnership someday. Cindy wants to be a dentist, she told Howard University College of Dentistry students Brian Garriquez and Athena Goar at the DC Dental Society's GKAS event Feb. 1.

We await your arrival: Howard University College of Dentistry students and faculty, DC Dental Society volunteers and community representatives are about to Give Kids A Smile Feb. 1, 2013.
Photo by Dr. Chester Stein
“I'm so very excited about the partnership,” said Dr. Leo Rouse, dental dean, describing GKAS volunteer dentists as “role models with our students and our students are role models to the community. They have such a great attitude. I'm excited to see them now as future clinicians to give back to the community we serve. They take this same attitude with them to communities across the country and around the world. We have students from some 40 countries.”

Dr. John Drumm and Dr. Patrick Grogan are among the community volunteers who have taken part in all 11 DC Dental Society-Howard U. events, and they see Give Kids A Smile presenting a different demographic over the years, “fewer kids that have rampant decay” as Dr. Drumm put it. “We do a lot more prophys and sealants than restoratives,” said Dr. Grogan.

Not that decay doesn't present. Dr. Liliana Cuervo's soon-to-be-four-year-old patient had multiple cavities, “early childhood cavities associated with bottle feeding. We're going to do two cavities today. My goal is to have that side of her mouth taken care of today. She needs further treatment for other smaller cavities.”

GKAS 2003: Dr. John Drumm (top step) "here from the start" for all 11 years of the Howard University College of Dentistry-District of Columbia Dental Society Give Kids A Smile partnership offers photo of 1st GKAS class taken during his DCDS presidency.

Children needing further care left the Howard U. dental clinic with a yellow “Follow Up Dental Care Form for Parents” advising that “Your child needs further dental work. Your school administrators will advise you where you can get this extra treatment for your child.”

Dr. Robert Shub says the students are “getting more involved” in the GKAS clinic in recent years. “We're still mentoring them for the more difficult patients. They have a good positive attitude, they're very energetic and they have age on their side.”
But Give Kids A Smile is about Michael and Elizabeth and Nyelli and Candice and Amy and the 110 children bused from the Bruce Monroe Elementary School @ Parkview to the Howard Dental Clinic if just for an introduction to dentistry. It's about the “excitement” of community partnership if not the future of dentistry. Which brings us back to Cindy.

Why do you want to be a dentist, Cindy? “Because I like going to the dentist. One time I played a game of dentist and I won 100 points.” We're not clear on the “game” or the points. But we wanted you to know her part in this partnership and how she would advance it.