Campaign funds will be used to expand access to dental care for patients with special needs.
IRVINE, CALIF. Nov. 6, 2023 – Smile Generation’s nationwide network of trusted dental practices helped raise over $650,000 in support of the Pacific Dental Services (PDS) Foundation’s Special Needs Dentistry program. These funds will be used to improve access to dental care for patients with special needs and provide training for clinicians specializing in this field of dentistry.
The fundraising efforts comprised two key components. The first, a 60-day campaign called “Smile for Special Needs,” offered dental service discounts to patients at Smile Generation-trusted dental practices in exchange for a donation to the campaign. This campaign received contributions from over 8,600 individuals, resulting in more than $396,000 in funds raised.
The second component was the weeklong “Stroll for Special Needs 5K” event that brought together supporters across the country in various communities. Over 1,400 participants from 37 states came together to stroll, run, walk, or roll, covering a combined total of 4,547 miles and raising over $254,000 for the cause. This initiative received support from a group of dedicated sponsors, including Guidehouse, Lockton, Anthem, Intellys, OSTechnical, and SprintRay. Among these generous sponsors, Concorde Career Colleges played a vital role.
“We have a unique appreciation for the profound impact that quality healthcare can have on people’s lives. That's why Concorde Career Colleges is thrilled to sponsor this campaign and engage our students from across the nation in supporting special needs patients. We believe it's vital for our students to not only provide exceptional care but also to recognize good community partners who also value diversity, equity, and inclusion in the quality of care they deliver,” said Nancy Jones, Vice President of Student Affairs at Concorde Career Colleges.
“It’s deeply inspiring to see thousands of people all over the country uniting to support special needs dentistry,” said Michael Le, Executive Director of the PDS Foundation. “One the biggest problems for patients with intellectual and physical disabilities is finding competent oral health care. This often means that patients can go months or even years without a dental cleaning. Thanks to the support from these annual campaigns, we can connect more special needs patients and their families with quality, compassionate care and reduce the stress around finding a dentist.”
“A small act can send a big message of acceptance, kindness, understanding, and love,” remarked Cristina D., who joined the “Stroll for Special Needs 5K” event in Miami, Fla. and raised funds on behalf of her son.
For someone with special needs, daily tasks like brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, or driving to an appointment can be challenging, and visiting the dentist is even harder. Access to quality oral healthcare poses a substantial challenge for the 27% of the U.S. population living with disabilities1.
The PDS Foundation – a non-profit organization that seeks to impact overall health by improving oral health through service opportunities – has been providing specialized dental care to patients of all abilities through a one-of-a-kind dental office in Phoenix, Ariz. since 2019. The PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office features specially trained clinicians and team members equipped with behavioral care techniques to support each patient’s unique needs. The practice offers a family-friendly, sensory-integrated dental experience including rooms that offer patients a calm and relaxing environment, an office and parking lot that is wheelchair accessible, and tele-dentistry for emergency consultations from home using a smartphone or tablet.
Family members often remark about the monumental difference special needs dentistry provides for their loved ones, who often struggle to access even the most basic dental care.
To learn more or make a donation to the PDS Foundation, visit the organization’s website.
1 “Disability Impacts All of Us Infographic | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 May 2023, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html.