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ATSU-ASDOH provides free dental care during annual Give Kids A Smile event

On Friday, Feb. 23, approximately 200 uninsured and at-risk children received free dental care during the annual Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) event hosted by A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) and the Arizona Dental Foundation.

In total, 275 students, 44 alumni, and 70 faculty and staff members participated in this year’s event, serving students from four elementary schools within the Mesa Public Schools district, in addition to several walk-ins.

The GKAS program was founded in 2003 by the American Dental Association (ADA), providing free oral healthcare for underserved children with a goal to ensure access to quality oral healthcare for all.

“Participating in GKAS was deeply rewarding. It provided me with an opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of children in need, improving their oral health and overall well-being,” said Kiana Okonowski, D3, one of the co-chairs of this year’s event. “The event also worked to foster a sense of community and collaboration among the volunteers, alumni, and participants. I was pleased to see the kids proudly sharing their smiles with those important in their lives.”

Since its founding, GKAS has provided dental care for more than 7 million children across the U.S. Each year, more than 6,000 dentists and 30,000 dental team members volunteer at local GKAS events in their communities. 

Jordan Nolan, D3, GKAS co-chair, added, “I fell in love with this event during my first year as a student and it has been cool to see my older brother come back to help out as an alumnus each year. My favorite part has been seeing the kids’ smiling faces at the carnival after receiving their dental care and being able to reconnect with alumni.”

Check out photos from this year’s event below!


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