Gini Awards

Sept. 1, 2011
Six individuals and two companies will be honored in 2011 as ambassadors for the Smiles Change Lives mission of providing access to affordable orthodontic care for children in need.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri--Virginia Brown, or “Gini” as her friends call her, is the founder of the national nonprofit organization Smiles Change Lives.

Founded in Kansas City by Brown and her son, Thomas Brown, Smiles Change Lives has helped more than 1,500 children receive affordable orthodontic treatment in partnership with caring orthodontists.

“The Gini Awards recognize the heroes that go above and beyond in their role as volunteers,” said Gracie Harrison, volunteer coordinator for the agency. “What could be more appropriate than to name our premiere service award after our founder who has created a legacy of care for under served children?”

Pacific Dental Services gives back through Smile Generation Serve Day

SCL works with 460 volunteer orthodontists nationwide and uses hundreds of office, committee, and event volunteers in the Kansas City headquarters. Six individuals and two companies will be honored this year as ambassadors for the SCL mission of providing access to orthodontic care for children in need. An awards reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. October 14, 2011, at the American Restaurant in Kansas City, Mo.

The following companies/individuals will receive a Gini Award in recognition of their volunteerism and outstanding service to children’s oral health:

3M Unitek - Monrovia, Calif.
Al financial investor and supporter of the SCL mission, 3M staff from coast to coast have been instrumental in recruiting orthodontists to the program and providing support. Because of 3M, hundreds of new SCL orthodontic providers nationwide work with Smiles Change Lives and help brace kids for a better future.

Dr. Hilary Nieberg Baskin - Denver, Colo.
Dr. Baskin has been a visionary in launching a statewide program that serves Colorado, establishing a diverse referral network, conducting orthodontic screenings in her practice, attending public outreach events, and keeping SCL at the forefront of Colorado access-to-care networks.

Dr. Dustin Burleson – Kansas City, Mo.
When he’s not providing treatment to newborns with cleft palate or donating his care to dozens of SCL patients each year, Dr. Burleson can be found teaching at the UMKC School of Dentistry and providing care to difficult cases at area hospitals. Dr. Burleson is a long-time supporter of nearly every SCL event, campaign, and outreach effort.

Children’s Mercy Family Health Partners – Kansas City, Mo.
CMFHP has become a part of the SCL family through its commitment to employee volunteerism. Employee volunteers have not only donated their time, but in 2010 raised funds for SCL through an annual charity golf tournament. Through the commitment of many talented individuals, CMFHP has provided SCL with hundreds of hours of support.

Carrie Hobart – Kansas City, Mo.
Hobart began successful service to SCL with an unpaid marketing internship early this year. Beginning with 20 hours per week, her work included orthodontist recruitment, information management, and applicant processing. She is a full-time member of the SCL staff.

Dr. Randall Markarian – Southern, Ill.
Dr. Markarian has served SCL as an advisor, recruiter, Community Advisory Board leader, fundraiser, and St. Louis-area program champion. Hosting events in his practice, screening patients, and treating dozens of SCL cases, Dr. Markarian seeks creative opportunities for SCL.

Dr. Scott McCranels – West Palm Beach, Fla.
Olympic surfer, orthodontist ,and philanthropist are just a few ways to describe the successes of Dr. Scott McCranels. A leader in launching the first SCL expansion area that served Florida nearly a decade ago, Dr. McCranels served on the SCL National Board for eight years and assists in recruiting colleagues locally and nationwide.

Jan Tracy – Kansas City, Mo.
Tracy has produced works of art, including SCL newsletters, gratitude reports, brochures, displays, and collateral. She has also served on the Community Advisory Board and marketing committee for more than a decade.

Because of the dedication of these and hundreds of other volunteers annually, Smiles Change Lives should help connect orthodontists with more than 700 children in need in 2011.

For information on volunteering for SCL or attending the Gini Awards event, visit or send an email to [email protected].

For information on becoming an SCL provider, visit or send an email to [email protected].

To comment on this topic, go to