Celebrating 10 years of healthier smiles

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Children’s Dental Day provides free care to undeserved children across Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Children’s Dental Day, a patient care program hosted each year to provide free dental care to underserved children across Nebraska.

Since 2001, the program has provided more than $2 million in care to more than 4,300 children, including dental screenings, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, cavity fillings, education and emergency care, as needed.

This year, children from Lincoln, Hastings, Crete, Lexington, Columbus, Norfolk, Madison, Wakefield, West Point and Wisner received care at the event held at the College of Dentistry in Lincoln.

One reason for the success of this annual program is the critical support received from Ameritas Group, a company that gives to help cover expenses such as transportation, materials, food and games for the kids.

“Ameritas has been a prime supporter of Children’s Dental Day from the beginning,” said Dr. John Reinhardt, dean of the dental college. “Dental college students receive hands-on experience and gain a new appreciation for the importance of volunteering. The kids are lit up with smiles and are excited to continue their own dental health regimen at home.”

In addition to support for Children’s Dental Day, past gifts from Ameritas have provided significant resources for rural externships for dental students across Nebraska, pre-clinic lab renovations, faculty and student research, and the dental hygiene department’s Sealant Program.

Ken VanCleave, president of Ameritas Group, said the company is proud to have the opportunity to partner with the university’s comprehensive health science programs. “We are dedicated to helping protect the smiles, sights and sounds of kids in Nebraska and throughout the United States,” he said.

Ameritas, a national leader in insurance and financial services, is now taking its philanthropic partnership with the university another step further. It recently established a $250,000 permanent endowment at the University of Nebraska Foundation which will provide annual support for the College of Dentistry’s research focused on preventing, detecting and treating oral cancer.

“This gift is another outstanding example of Ameritas’ strong commitment to improving education at the College of Dentistry and improving the health of people in Nebraska and beyond,” Reinhardt said. “We’re delighted to accept this generous support, which will significantly strengthen our developing oral cancer research and educational activities.”

“This is a natural partnership,” VanCleave said. “We completely support the college’s research, and have no doubt that our investment in this program will lead to improvements in oral cancer prevention and treatment.”

The gift from Ameritas Group also supports the university’s current fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, and one of the College of Dentistry’s campaign goals to strengthen its oral cancer programs.

About Ameritas Group

Ameritas Group, a division of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., a UNIFI company, has served customers since 1959 and today provides dental, eye care and hearing care products and services for more than 70,000 employer groups, insuring or administering benefits for more than 4.8 million people nationwide. Ameritas has one of the largest PPO dental networks in the country with more than 160,000 provider access points. Its customer service claims contact center earned BenchmarkPortal’s prestigious Center of Excellence certification for 2010, the fourth year in a row. In New York, products are offered through First Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York, a UNIFI company.

About the College of Dentistry

Now in its second century of oral health education and service, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry is a nationally recognized leader in clinical instruction, cutting-edge research, and progressive patient-focused programs. It offers a doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) program, a bachelor’s of science degree in dental hygiene, and postgraduate training in the oral health specialties of endodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, and periodontics, as well as a general practice residency.

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