The KinderSmile Foundation (KSF), a nonprofit pediatric dental home and community outreach center based in Bloomfield, held its inaugural SMILE! Awards recently at Clara Maass Medical Center, a facility of RWJBarnabas Health.
KSH serves the oral health needs of uninsured, underserved children.
The SMILE! Awards honored 20 pregnant and postpartum moms from Essex County – primarily Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, East Orange, Nutley and Montclair – who have graduated from KinderSmile Foundation’s Perinatal Health and Wellness Program. The program empowers expecting and new mothers to take charge of their oral health and that of their newborns, infants and children by linking them to a nonprofit pediatric dental home where they can receive ongoing treatment, education and preventive care.
“Giving birth is an exciting time, especially for the graduates of the perinatal and wellness program. Thanks to the KinderSmile Foundation, new and expecting mothers are empowered to improve their health—including their oral health for themselves, their new babies and their entire families and we are grateful to have such a meaningful and rewarding partnership with The KinderSmile Foundation” said Dr. Mary Ellen Clyne, president and chief executive officer of Clara Maass Medical Center.
New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy participated in the program as keynote speaker, awards presenter and recipient. Murphy is a supporter of the KinderSmile Foundation and its proactive approach to eradicating dental disease in low-income communities and of oral health equity in general.
Darwin Hayes, New Jersey’s first state dental director in 30 years, addressed the oral health needs of all New Jersey residents, including vulnerable populations during the program.
The KinderSmile Perinatal Health & Wellness Program is held year-round, and to date approximately 180 women have graduated. Next, the foundation will work to identify and partner with women’s health providers in Essex County to reach a broader audience of qualifying moms.