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University of Iowa News Release


May 1, 2007

UI Pediatric Dentistry Residents To Treat Hawaiian Children

Pediatric dentistry residents at the University of Iowa soon will give children in Waimea, on the Island of Hawaii, something to smile about.

As many as 100 of the island's youngsters, ages 1 to 10, will receive free dental care in mid-May, thanks to the Keiki Dental Project, a collaboration of the UI and the Mobile Care Health Project (a program of the Office for Social Ministry of the Catholic Church in partnership with St. Francis Community Health Services in Hawaii), Hamakua Health Center, and five participating schools on the island.

The project is the brainchild of Elaine Himadi, M.D., a developmental pediatrics fellow at UI Children's Hospital. Himadi is a former Kamuela, Hawaii, resident and Waimea Intermediate School administrator who recognized the need for dental services for children on the island from low-income families who are either uninsured or whose children are receiving Medicaid services.

"The goal is to help these children who have limited access to dental care and bring awareness to the critical need for more dental providers, especially pediatric dentists, in community clinics on the neighboring islands," Himadi said.

Accompanying Himadi to Hawaii will be Richard Burke, D.M.D., a UI clinical assistant professor in pediatric dentistry as well as four pediatric dental residents at Iowa: Robert Gregorsok, D.D.S.; Bryce Goebel, Natalie Cheung, D.D.S., and Yousef M. Yousef, B.D.S. Mobile Care Health Care Project staff will assist with the project and provide two mobile vans that are fully equipped with four dental operatories that include digital radiography.

The Keiki Dental Project plans to treat the children during the week of May 14-18. Services will include dental x-rays, fillings, extraction of non-restorable teeth and fluoride treatments. Each child will go home with a toothbrush kit, as well.

Participating schools include Kanu o ka 'Aina New Century Charter School, Kula Kaiapuni o Waimea, Malama Poki'i, Punana Leo o Waimea, and Waimea Elementary School. The children are currently receiving preliminary dental assessments at the schools to determine priority of those needing dental treatment.

The dental residents have been issued Hawaii State Community Service Licenses to allow them to practice in Hawaii. They are volunteering their time and flying to Hawaii at their own expense.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,