Dental screening, free oral care kits available for Grand Rapids students at select schools

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – This week, Grand Rapids Public Schools is offering dental screening services for students in preschool through fifth grade at four select elementary schools.

GRPS has partnered with Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures and Grand Valley State University to provide a new mobile dental clinic that runs through Friday, Oct. 28.

Every day this week, the district is offering dental screening, dental report cards, treatment referrals and free oral care kits for elementary students at four GRPS schools. The mobile clinic kicked off Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Stocking Elementary.

Here are the dates, times and locations for three remaining events this week:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m. to noon at Dickinson Academy, 448 Dickinson St.
  • Thursday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to noon at Campus Elementary, 710 Benjamin Ave.
  • Friday, Oct. 28, 8 a.m. to noon at Mulick Park Elementary, 1761 Rosewood Ave.

GVSU School of Public Health students and faculty will be at the clinics to facilitate hands-on, interactive wellness education stations, according to a GRPS news release.

Four local dentists offices have each sponsored a day of the clinic and will provide dental hygienists and dentists from their offices to screen participants.

Those clinics are Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, Smiley Family Dentistry, Pediatric Dental Specialists of West Michigan and Mitten Kids Dentistry.

Kim Baron, GRPS director of school health services, said the event aligns with the district’s strategic plan in that it helps meet the needs of the whole student — not just academics.

“I love that an event like this addresses the whole child,” Baron said in a statement. “It’s physical wellness, mental wellness and prevention. And dental education and screening, plus wellness offerings, all align perfectly with our GRPS Strategic Plan. The first strategic theme is ‘meeting holistic scholar needs.’ This is one way that we can do this.”

Baron said the program will offer a perfect opportunity for GVSU students to practice their skills hands-on

“I’m a school nurse and I love my role as a public health professional,” she said.

“I want to participate in the development of future public health professionals which is what a partnership like this will offer. We are going to be creating an opportunity for these public health students to practice their skills and be exposed to the real work of prevention and health promotion.”

The idea for the partnership started with Ranelle Brew, director of the GVSU School of Public Health, asked Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures to bring their services to Grand Rapids in 2022.

“GVSU Public Health has a strong relationship with the local community and many partners within it,” Brew said in a statement. “This mobile dental effort is targeting the exact age population that GRPS serves, and so it felt natural to reach out for collaborating.”’

This is the first year for the pilot program, but Baron and Brew said they hope the event can be extended to other GRPS school sin the future.

“For this year, we selected schools from a variety of neighborhoods,” Baron said. “And we have fully staffed health offices in the participating schools, so we can be available to assist in making this a successful launch.”

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