Pediatric Dental Residents Run Miles for Smiles to Benefit Autism New Jersey

December 13, 2021

On November 20, Temple University Hospital pediatric dental residents Josh Samuel, Ryan Davis, Nidhi Kotak, and Sabina Korman participated in the Dietz and Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, one of the biggest races of its kind in the United States.

To mark their accomplishment, the group decided to raise funds for Autism New Jersey.  Their motivation was clear:

“As pediatric dental residents, we see on a daily basis how the lack of access to regular dental care for pediatric patients can have severe implications leading to pain, loss of function, and even one’s self-esteem. This risk is exponentially greater in those with developmental disabilities.

A visit to the dentist can be frightening to any child but even more so to a child with ASD. The new sights, sounds, smells, and sensations can be overwhelming. Maintaining great oral health is a combination of home care, diet, and regular checkups. Building relationships and trust with our patients and families is at the crux of what we do.

That’s where Autism New Jersey comes in. They provide information, education, and advocacy services to families to ensure patients have access to these much needed resources. Whether it be for after school programs, early interventions, or referrals to a healthcare provider. Raising a child with autism presents its own unique set of challenges and having an organization that provides family support services is a lifeline.”

All donations collected were matched by their residency program through Pediatric Dental Associates. The practice has long incorporated autism awareness for clinicians into their curriculum, including inviting former Miss New Jersey and longtime friend of Autism New Jersey, Erica Scanlon Harr, to speak to residents so they can gain a better appreciation for autism and the way it can affect families.

“We are very proud to be an advocate to the autism community in whatever small ways that we can including training our residents in understanding the challenges that may be faced by children with autism both in and out of the dental environment. Autism New Jersey has been an incredible resource for so many families and we are proud to support them.” – Dana Chianese, DMD, Clinical Program Director

So far, they have raised nearly $6,000 through direct contributions and contribution matches. If you’d like to support their accomplishment, you can still donate via their Go Fund Me Page.

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