Public Health Awareness Campaign to Promote the Connection Between Oral Health and Total Health, and Encourage the Use of Face Coverings to Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19
The Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Inc. (HSCF), in partnership with The UPS Foundation, has launched the second phase of its ‘Wearing is Caring’ campaign, focusing on raising awareness about the integral connection between oral health and systemic wellness. Poor oral health has been found to negatively impact overall health, and is significantly associated with chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and stroke.
To raise awareness about this issue, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation is supporting select local Special Olympics Programs in Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi with funding towards Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® programs, which provide health screenings and education in eight different disciplines, including oral health, for Special Olympics athletes. These types of programs offer an integrated ‘total health’ model.
Special Olympics Special Smiles®, the dentistry portion of the Healthy Athletes program, fills a need for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and offers a complete dental history, education about the importance of good oral hygiene habits, and a dental exam. At Special Smiles, trained clinicians assess several indicators of oral health including mouth pain, untreated tooth decay, and gingival signs. They provide treatment, mouthguards, fluoride varnish as needed, and referrals for follow-up care. After athletes received care through Special Smiles:
- 67% no longer had mouth pain;
- 25% no longer had untreated tooth decay; and
- 30% of athletes no longer needed urgent referrals.
The Special Smiles program is integrated within the broader Healthy Athletes program affording children and adults with intellectual disabilities holistic health care, which improves patient outcomes and reduces the overall cost of care. In addition to program benefits of the athletes receiving care, there are benefits for participating health care students and professionals. Through training and hands-on experience at screenings, students and professionals increase their knowledge of best practices in caring for, and communicating with, people with intellectual disabilities, which advances cultural competency and reduces health equity gaps.
“As we continue to advocate for public health, health equity, and wellness through the Wearing is Caring campaign, we are delighted to strengthen expanded access to oral health care provided through integrated models of care delivery, particularly for people with disabilities,” said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Henry Schein, Inc. “Together with Special Olympics, we will work to enhance access to essential health care for people with intellectual disabilities, with a focus on oral health, which is such a critical component to achieving good overall health.”
“People with intellectual disabilities are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and face inequities in all areas of health care, especially oral health,” said Dr. Alicia Bazzano, Chief Health Officer, Special Olympics. “Thanks to the generous donation from Henry Schein, we can prioritize the distribution of face coverings to Special Olympics Programs that are in most need of critical health care resources and further advocate a total health model that integrates oral health and overall health. In addition, we can help close the gap in preventive health education and services to help ensure inclusive health care is a reality.”
This public health awareness campaign kicked off in October 2020 in support of Center of Diseases Control (CDC) Foundation’s Crush COVID initiative to reinforce the importance and benefits of wearing face coverings. The face coverings come in a variety of styles and sizes, with messages tailored to each phase of the campaign, including: Mask Me About My Smile; Just Keep Smiling; and I’m Still Smiling.
Complementing the Henry Schein Cares Foundation campaign and aligning with the CDC Foundation’s initiative, Henry Schein, Inc. will donate and distribute cloth face coverings to support Healthy Athletes programs in targeted Southern states. As a result, athletes with intellectual disabilities who typically receive dental care through Special Smiles will have the protection they need to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 through the Wearing is Caring campaign.
To learn more about the Wearing is Caring campaign, please visit www.hscaresfoundation.org.
About Henry Schein Cares Foundation Inc.
Established in 2008, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation works to foster, support, and promote dental and medical health by helping to increase access to care in communities around the world. The Henry Schein Cares Foundation carries out its mission through financial and health care product donations to non-profit organizations supporting health care professionals and community-based programs focused on prevention, wellness, and treatment; disaster preparedness and relief; and capacity building of health institutions that provide training and care.
The Foundation is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible as provided by law.
About Henry Schein, Inc.
Henry Schein, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSIC) is a solutions company for health care professionals powered by a network of people and technology. With more than 19,000 Team Schein Members worldwide, the Company’s network of trusted advisors provides more than 1 million customers globally with more than 300 valued solutions that help improve operational success and clinical outcomes. Our Business, Clinical, Technology, and Supply Chain solutions help office-based dental and medical practitioners work more efficiently so they can provide quality care more effectively. These solutions also support dental and medical laboratories, government and institutional health care clinics, as well as other alternate care sites.
Henry Schein operates through a centralized and automated distribution network, with a selection of more than 120,000 branded products and Henry Schein private-brand products in stock, as well as more than 180,000 additional products available as special-order items.
A FORTUNE 500 Company and a member of the S&P 500® index, Henry Schein is headquartered in Melville, N.Y., and has operations or affiliates in 31 countries and territories. The Company’s sales reached $10.1 billion in 2020, and have grown at a compound annual rate of approximately 12 percent since Henry Schein became a public company in 1995.
About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Special Olympics Unified Sports® partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 Games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.