In 2015, I was presented with an opportunity to volunteer for a very special cause, Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program. I am a proud member of a dental fraternity, Alpha Omega Seattle Chapter. Alpha Omega (AO), www.ao.org, is the oldest international dental fraternity and has the distinction of being the oldest international Jewish medical organization.
The Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program provides pro-bono dental care to a total of 250-300 Holocaust survivors originally launched in January 2015 in nine cities – New York City, the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, Montreal, and Toronto. By increasing Holocaust survivors’ access to oral care, the program seeks to significantly enhance their overall health and quality of life.
Maintaining good oral health is important for many reasons, including a sense of well-being, self-esteem, and the ability to chew and digest food properly. Poor oral health has also been linked to numerous chronic conditions, including diabetes, respiratory illness, and heart disease. Holocaust survivors are particularly at risk because many experienced prolonged nutritional deprivation, receiving little or no dental care throughout their childhoods, ultimately compromising their lifelong oral health.
I jumped at the opportunity to provide pro-bono dental care to Holocaust survivors. Jewish Family Services paired me with Grigory in January 2015. Grigory hails from Moldova and has lived in the United States since the 90s living close to poverty level. When he and I first met, he gave me a big hug and called me his son. He is always very gracious with my entire team.
When I first met Grigory and witnessed his oral health, there was a lot to tackle. Along with one of our wonderful dental hygienists, Tiffany, my friends and colleagues; endodontist, Matt Mandel, and oral surgeon, Gary Feldman, we have Grigory’s oral health in tip top shape.
Giving back is a part of our culture in LeCuyer Amato Dentistry. We continue to volunteer and give back to our community via programs such as Give Back a Smile, The More Love Project for Seattle’s Homeless, and donation of supplies to missions.