Henry Schein & Alpha Omega a Public-Private Partnership for Holocaust Survivors
Henry Schein Cares, the global corporate social responsibility program of Henry Schein, Inc., the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners, and the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity will be honored by the Blue Card on November 16, 2015 at the New York Public Library for their successful creation and implementation in 12 cities across North America of the Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program. Other honorees include Professor Elie Wiesel.
The program was established in response to the White House’s call to action for the creation of innovative public-private partnership programs to help Holocaust survivors in the United States age with dignity and support.
The need is great: 25% of the approximately 120,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States live in poverty, in contrast to approximately 9% of the general population of that same age group. This population has special oral care needs, as many survivors experienced prolonged nutritional deprivation and little to no dental care throughout their childhoods during World War II, which impacted their lifelong oral health.
A Successful Public-Private Partnership Model
Commencing in January 2015, the program is a pilot three-year initiative that provides pro-bono dental care to a total of at least 250-300 Holocaust survivors annually.
Propelled by the White House’s call to action, Henry Schein partnered with Alpha Omega, whose dentist members are providing the pro bono care to patients, and leveraged its relationships with numerous organizations for program assistance, including philanthropic partners, a dental laboratory, and a network of local referral agencies. “Henry Schein firmly believes that innovative public-private partnerships are the most effective way to address urgent global health issues, and our Holocaust survivor program is a shining example of the power of this model,” said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein, Inc. “By using our company’s core competencies and mobilizing the participation of our partners from all sectors of society, together we are able to have a tangible impact on the lives of this most deserving and vulnerable population.”
As demonstrated in the above graphic, the power of the public-private partnership model lies in the strategic collaboration between multiple stakeholders. Individuals are directly referred to the Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivor Oral Health Program through local participating social services agencies and other identified local partner organizations. In addition to a survivor’s financial need, three critical factors used to prioritize patients for participation are: elimination of pain, restoring function and lack of dental coverage. A clear set of clinical guidelines directs the specific scope of care to be provided through this program.
Once identified, Alpha Omega’s membership provides the professional expertise and skill on a pro bono basis to provide care for participating patients. Henry Schein catalyzes the program with donations of dental supply kits, while a dental laboratory donates crowns, dentures, and other appliances necessary for proper patient care, all under the clinical guidance of another program partner. Finally, a number of philanthropic partners generously contribute the much-needed financial resources to fuel the program.
Program Results After Year One
The results achieved through this program thus far have been profound, both for their impact upon the lives of survivors and for the multi-faceted engagement by numerous participants. Over the first ten months, the program has expanded from nine to twelve cities, and gained the participation of two dental schools. The estimated value of dental care to be provided at the conclusion of this first year will be approximately $1 million, with continued expansion planned for the upcoming years.
Vice President Joe Biden applauded the program at the General Assembly of Jewish Federation of North America, saying “…At least 25 percent of Holocaust survivors…in the United States…[are] living in poverty. With your encouragement, and the President’s authority, I announced the appointment of a Special Envoy for U.S. Holocaust survivors to… [rally] volunteer organizations throughout the country, from AmeriCorps…to the Association of Jewish Families and Children’s Agencies, to Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity and Henry Schein, giving free dental care to survivors.”
Lee Sherman, President and CEO of the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies remarked that “the partnership of Henry Schein and Alpha Omega to provide oral care services to 250-300 Holocaust survivors in need … will allow our participating local agencies to provide even more and deeper services to this community.”
Of course, the best indicators of success are the sentiments of the participating patients and dentists. One survivor recently commented, “I cannot tell you how thankful I am to my dentist. My previous experiences with dentists associated with pain and lots of money spent. In Dr. Seidman’s hands, I felt no pain – he has “golden hands” (our Russian saying for hands that can do a miracle).” One participating dentist noted, “These patients have endured such terrible atrocities and I am glad that we are able to make such a positive impact on their lives. Personally, treating these patients has been a highlight of my professional career… I believe I am receiving more out this experience than the patients receiving the dental care.” Another dentist remarked, “When I first met (my patient), he hugged me and thanked me before I even introduced myself. We heard stories of sadness, grief, starvation, and hope all bringing a tear to my eye and my dental assistants…He calls me his son, which is very nice, (and) he never comes or goes without a hug.”
Please click here to view a video about the Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program.