New dentist group leader applies GKAS Institute lessons to Hawaii events

The Hawaii Dental Association Young Dentist Group volunteers hold up a Give Kids A Smile Hawaii banner at their Feb. 21 GKAS event. Pictured at the top, from left: Drs. Tina Mukai, Lauren Young, Keri Wong and Jaclyn Palola.  At bottom, from left: Drs. Blake Kitamura, Robert Yong, Scott Morita, Bryan Sato, Suzan Ly, Christopher Young, Scott Hiramoto, Wesley Sato, Rachel Dipasquale and Blake Matsuura.

The Hawaii Dental Association Young Dentist Group volunteers hold up a Give Kids A Smile Hawaii banner at their Feb. 21 GKAS event. Pictured at the top, from left: Drs. Tina Mukai, Lauren Young, Keri Wong and Jaclyn Palola. At bottom, from left: Drs. Blake Kitamura, Robert Yong, Scott Morita, Bryan Sato, Suzan Ly, Christopher Young, Scott Hiramoto, Wesley Sato, Rachel Dipasquale and Blake Matsuura.

Hawaii’s isolation from mainland resources and not having a dental school are two of the challenges that face anyone coordinating a Give Kids A Smile event here.

In contemplating taking the lead in organizing the Hawaii Dental Association’s GKAS event, Dr. Scott Morita applied for and obtained a spot at the 2014 GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute, according to ADA News.

He took his association’s GKAS dilemmas with him to St. Louis last October and the Institute helped him forge ideas on how to corral the energy and efforts of the Hawaii Dental Association Young Dentist Group to tailor a series of GKAS events.

“It’s the first year of new dentists implementing any kind of program in Hawaii like this at all,” said Dr. Morita, an orthodontist.

Dr. Morita poses with Fred the Floss-a-saurus and displays a signed proclamation declaring February Give Kids  A Smile Month in Hawaii.

Dr. Morita poses with Fred the Floss-a-saurus and displays a signed proclamation declaring February Give Kids A Smile Month in Hawaii.

Ultimately, Dr. Morita and his fellow young dentists organized a three-part observation of GKAS in February, with their main event occurring Feb. 21. In total, Dr. Morita’s team attracted 80 volunteers, including 30 dentists, for their GKAS treatment event.

“We saw over 100 children,” Dr. Morita said. “They had more education, but they were also able to get a free oral examination, free prophy and free fluoride treatment on that day.”

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