Giv'a Kid a Healthy Smile campaign promotes dental care

June 14, 2005
Kodak-sponsored community pilot project harnessed educational power of digital photography to serve Rochester neigborhood.

Up to 200 volunteers with the African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP) of United Way and Network North Star, the African American employee network at Eastman Kodak Company, worked to Giv'a Kid a Healthy Smile on April 29 by promoting dental care in a low-income Rochester neighborhood.

The outreach and education project used Kodak dental digital cameras to help African American, Latino, and Native American households in the city's Northeast Quadrant learn about good oral care practices.

The campaign, which was part of the 2005 United Way Day of Caring, comprised two efforts. First, teams of volunteers went door-to-door in a one-square-mile area, reaching about 500 families. They offered information on preventive dental care and referred families to local sites for personalized health education.

Volunteers also suggested resources to help pay for dental care and distributed toothpaste and toothbrushes donated by the Gamma Iota Boule (Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity) of Greater Rochester, a group of African American male leaders who support social actions programs that affect low-income families.

For the second part of the program, four city locations were staffed with dentists, hygienists and other health care professionals and volunteers. These volunteers offered clinical examinations and additional educational materials. Kodak dental camera systems were used to photograph participants' front teeth and illustrate the campaign's health education message. The photos will also be used as a referral tool for future dental care.

Data from the Eastman Dental Center in Rochester indicate that up to 95 percent of the city's children do not receive adequate dental care.
"The ultimate impact of our campaign was to increase access to community dental care services in the city and to promote utilization of dental insurance resources that meet their needs," said Hoffman Moka Lantum, president-elect of Kodak's Network North Star.

Dental professionals from Rochester & New York State Oral Health Coalition, Rochester Primary Care Network, Monroe County Health Department, Anthony Jordan Hospital, Pluta-ViaHealth, and Arnett Family Dentistry were among those supporting Giv'a Kid a Healthy Smile and the use of KODAK dental imaging technology in the project.