On Saturday, June 17, 2017, approximately 35 students, faculty, and staff from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) participated in the Healthy Athletes® Special Smiles® initiative at the Special Olympics Massachusetts Summer Games at Harvard University’s Murr Center.
More than 1,800 athletes from the Greater Boston area converged on Harvard University’s Athletic Complex to participate in athletic events such as Aquatics, Gymnastics, Power Lifting, Tennis, Track & Field, and Volleyball. Dentists and dental students were on hand at the Special Smiles clinic to offer oral screenings, health education and prevention services, and referrals to athletes who need follow-up care. They also provided individually-fitted mouth guards to participating athletes. A total of 180 athletes received oral healthcare.
Special Smiles is just one component of the Healthy Athletes Program offered during the Summer Games. Others include Fit Feet (a podiatry clinic), FUNfitness (physical therapy), and Healthy Hearing (an audiology clinic).
The Special Smiles clinic was also staffed by volunteers from Cape Cod Community College, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Mount Ida College, and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Delta Dental co-sponsors the event.
“Special Smiles is a fun and important event and I am proud that GSDM has participated in it for so many years,” said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter. “Thank you to all of the GSDM volunteers, and especially to Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving Ms. Stacey McNamee who works extremely hard every year to organize the Special Smiles event.”
Senior Global Clinical Adviser to Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Special Smiles Dr. Steve Perlman PEDO 76 worked with Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver to start the Special Smiles program in 1993. Dr. Perlman’s passion to eliminate healthcare disparities for people with disabilities led to the founding of the Healthy Athletes program.
Photos can be found on Facebook.