Left to Right: Vaughn Collins, Executive Director of the Vermont State Dental Society and Dr. Brian Shuman at the Special Smiles screening

Shuman Spreads Special Smiles

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Thursday October 03, 2013

Dr. Brian Shuman of South Burlington recently received a Building Blocks Award at the 2013 Live United Celebration Breakfast hosted by the United Way of Chittenden County. On Wednesday, September 4th in a full house at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Room, Dr. Shuman was recognized for his work in public health with Special Olympics Vermont’s Special Smiles program.

In 2013, Dr. Shuman led an effort to provide free oral screenings and education to more than 165 people with intellectual disabilities at the Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games. Special Smiles is a non-intrusive dental screening that is part of an overall health program offered by Special Olympics Vermont called Health Athletes. It provides people with intellectual disabilities with hygiene education to help ensure they are doing an adequate job of brushing and flossing, as well as free toothbrushes and other oral care products. During the screening, should an issue need follow up, Special Olympics will work with that individual to get the care needed to treat the issue.

Dr. Shuman along with the help of Dr. Nevin Zablotsky recruited and trained 40+ volunteers from Vermont and beyond including dental students from Harvard, Tufts and Boston University.  Dr. Shuman helped to develop an incentive system to increase the number of athletes who took advantage of the screening.  He created custom Special Smiles gold medals and awarded them to those who completed the screening.

The Special Smiles program is a key initiative for the Special Olympics organization as they work hard to maximize the health and well-being of our athletes.