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Jacksonville hosts 16th Give Kids A Smile event at local college

February 28, 2018
Group photo at GKAS event
Day of care: Nearly 40 dentists donated $100,000 worth of dental care to 121 children during Jacksonville's 16th Give Kids A Smile event Feb. 3. From left: Dr. Bethany Douglas, chair of the GKAS event and vice president of the Jacksonville Dental Society; Dr. Obie Sullivan; Dr. Aymee Jaramillo; Dr. Flavio Soares, past president of the Jacksonville Dental Society (gray scrubs); Dr. Pavneet Bains (white jacket); Dr. Susie Perry; Dr. Laura Sullivan; Dr. Roshan Patel; and Dr. Samira Meymand, president of the Jacksonville Dental Society.
Jacksonville, Fla. — Nearly 40 dentists donated $100,000 worth of free exams, X-rays, fluoride treatments, fillings and extractions during Jacksonville's 16th Give Kids A Smile event Feb. 3.

Dr. Bethany Douglas, vice president of the Jacksonville Dental Society, and Dr. Millie Tannen, secretary of the society, co-hosted the GKAS event with students and leadership at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

"This was the first time the annual event was held at Florida State College at Jacksonville, as the faculty, administrative team and students in the dental hygiene and assisting programs generously donated not only their clinics but their time and professional skills, as well," said Dr. Samira Meymand, a Jacksonville-based oral and maxillofacial surgeon. "In addition, volunteers included 36 area dentists — of which 20 were Jacksonville Dental Society dentist members — hygienists, assistants, dental health students and representatives of national dental supply companies."

Dr. Meymand said 121 children were treated.

"The Jacksonville Dental Society has been hosting Give Kids A Smile events for 15 years to provide free dental care to local children who desperately need it," Dr. Mermand said. "This year, the participating children not only received dental treatment and cleanings but also had the opportunity to meet Elmo from "Sesame Street" and receive education on dental care from the Florida State College at Jacksonville students."

Area oral health providers supported the event with volunteer resources and national dental supply companies donated thousands of dollars of supplies.

"Give Kids A Smile is an example of the charitable work Florida Dental Association member dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants contribute," Dr. Meymand said. "This volunteer program has helped thousands of low-income children across the nation receive the dental care they need and has helped alleviate the fear that young children often have in going to the dentist."

More than 5.5 million children have received free oral health services through Give Kids A Smile since the program's inception in 2003. In 2018 alone, nearly 300,000 children in need across the U.S. will receive free oral health services including oral health education, screening, preventive care, and restorative treatment from 6,500 volunteer dentists and 23,000 other dental team and community volunteers during more than 1,300 GKAS events. The ADA Foundation oversees the GKAS program. Visit for more information, or to make a donation.