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|Smilemobile Program 1974-2017|
Hartford Dental Society's Smilemobile Program: 1974 - 2017
“In 1972 Hartford Dental Society (HDS) convened a task force Smilemobile Steering Committee Drs. Jack Badner, Thomas Galvin, Irving Maisien, Robert Schreibman, Michael Perl and Sidney Sucoll. They were charged with the responsibility to assist HDS with a long term goal of involving its membership to enlighten the population to the Greater Hartford area about the importance of adequate dental health care. Realizing the difficulty in reaching adults, the task force focused its efforts on methods of reaching children in the region and educating them in preventive dental care. Priority was given to educating children in the early grades on prevention. This purpose has remained constant through the years and continues to be highly praised by children, their parents, and educators alike.”
The Smilemobile Program was officially established in 1974, by HDS with the assistance of the James and Ella Burr McManus Fund. It's mission: to provide a community service in the Greater Hartford County district to promote proper oral healthcare to young children at no cost to public and private schools.
Insightful members of HDS were nearly 40 years ahead of the Surgeon General’s call to action in 2010 when he called upon organizations and individuals to highlight oral health to enhance the public’s understanding and awareness of the importance of oral health.
Since its inception, the Smilemobile Program was funded by: HDS members who faithfully donated an assessment along with their annual dues, The James and Ella Burr McManus Fund, and support from public and private foundations, as well as corporations.
Initially, the Smilemobile Program was a classroom on wheels, a self-contained mobile unit complete with audio visual equipment and oral hygiene facilities including sink and running water. Unfortunately it was lost in a fire on April 19, 1985. It was replaced with an automobile and then began taking the visits into the classroom.
The preventative education program was designed as a fun and educational way for children in the greater Hartford area to learn about the importance of good oral healthcare routines, which taught interactive age-appropriate lessons in the classroom that focused on proper brushing and flossing techniques, the importance of a healthy nutritional diet, and the importance of regular dental checkups.
Following an extensive review of the program involving feedback from the membership, on May 1, 2017, the HDS Board of Directors voted to cease the Smilemobile Program's operations at the end of June 2017, which coincided with the Lou Ann Stankowski’s, (Program Coordinator), decision to step-down from the program after eleven years of dedicated service.
The organization is proud of the program's history and how it has served our local communities and thousands of children in the past. The current HDS board is exploring new community outreach possibilities that will benefit our members and promote the dental profession.
Quoted excerpts from Howard I. Mark, DMD, March 1986 CSDA Journal.