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Washington State Dental Association


Planning a Give Kids A Smile event? Let WOHF help!
Every February, dentists around the state hold Give Kids a Smile events, offering free oral health care to children without access to dental care. The Washington Oral Health Foundation would like to help make your event successful.

At the WSDA and the Washington Oral Health Foundation, we’d like to help make your events accessible, successful and smooth running. We can help promote your event on the WSDA website, give you tips and pointers for GKAS events, and tell your event story in the WSDA News — we welcome the chance to promote the work you do in your practice to help your community. Additionally, the ADA can provide some of the supplies necessary to make your GKAS event a hit.

Free toothbrushes and supplies
The Foundation may be able to help your group get free supplies (including toothbrushes, disposable instruments and hygiene kits, depending on the scope of your event) for your GKAS event.

Want to help in other ways?
If you’re not planning your own event but would still like to be involved, consider doing a school presentation in your community with help from the Foundation. WOHF can coordinate with your local school and provide all the materials you need. Call Ruth Abate at 800-448-3368, or email her at

It’s that time of year again… WOHF Phoneathon! Again this year — more callers
The WOHF Phoneathon has always been the organization’s biggest fundraiser, carried out by a cadre of dentists dedicated to the work the Foundation does around the state. Last year, the Foundation organized callers from around the state who rang up their colleagues throughout the month of March on behalf of the Foundation. “The results were spectacular,” said Dr. Dec Barnes of WOHF, “and this year, we’re hoping to keep up the good work.”

Reaching out
Barnes has a second goal for the event: callers will pick your brain about what is needed in your community. “Along with the appeal, we thought it was more important than ever to ask dentists what we can do for them,” he said. 

WOHF wants to support communities across the state to fulfill its mission of improving and enhancing oral health in Washington — but to be effective, the organization needs ambassadors in every corner of the state, illuminating the needs specific to your community. The Foundation provides programming and distributes oral hygiene kits to schools, organizes and serves as liaison between providers like Medical Teams International vans and the communities in need, and provides resources for WSDA members to use in their communities to help get the word out about oral hygiene and tobacco cessation. 

Tell WOHF what you need 
So, this year, when you get a call from a dentist volunteer asking you for a donation to the Washington Oral Health Foundation, take a moment to think about what needs your community has, and give that information to the person calling. “Tell us how we can work together and achieve that goal. We’re eager to partner with member dentists across the state.” For more information, contact Ruth Abate at

WOHF welcomes two new staff members
The Washington Oral Health Foundation recently added two new staff members to its roster. Ms. Launa Lea will be the organization’s Oral Health Education Programs Coordinator, and Ms. JiWon Kang will perform various duties with WOHF for a year as part of the Americorps Vista Program. 

Ms. JiWon Kang
Kang comes to the Foundation from the University of Washington, where she earned dual bachelor’s degrees in general biology and medical anthropology. While in school, she was a resident advisor and avid volunteer. She volunteered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and assisted the UW’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Recruitment and Outreach staff by encouraging minority students in target communities to pursue higher education. In addition to all that, she volunteered weekly as a partner to an elderly person with a disability and has used her skills as a second degree black belt in Taekwondo to train youth in sparring techniques. 

Kang comes to the Foundation through the Americorps Vista program, and will be with the Foundation for one year. The local Americorps Vista coordinator said, “JiWon is a local applicant who shares a personal commitment to closing the gap in health disparities and is far ahead other applicants in the use of culturally competent language and a general long standing social justice involvement. She is fluent in Korean (her family immigrated to the US when she was nine) and also speaks basic Spanish. She demonstrates excellent writing and grammar and shows great enthusiasm as well as a genuine commitment to service learning.” The WSDA and WOHF are proud to have JiWon as a member of the team for the next year!

Ms. Launa Lea
Ms. Lea comes to the Foundation having most recently served as the Education Program Coordinator for the Aurora Commons, where she worked with individuals and families impacted by homelessness, addiction and prostitution along the Aurora corridor. Of her role with the organization, Lea said, “I had this amazing opportunity to take a theoretical idea and take it into a physical space. We had no rules or boundaries — they trusted a small group of us to make it happen. The goal was to create a neighborhood living room where homeowners and the homeless would share a physical space and experiences together in a place where they could be regarded equally.”

Lea has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary education and her masters degree in sustainable communities. In her role with the Foundation, she will perform school visitations throughout the state, bringing oral health education to communities that might otherwise go without. Additionally, as a former teacher, Lea brings a set of skills to the table that will help her grow and develop school programs for the organization. We are proud to welcome Ms. Lea to the Foundation!
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