UM Today | Rady Faculty of Health Sciences


April 30, 2024 —

Over the past 25 years, thousands of inner-city children have received the dental care they need thanks to a partnership between the Gerald Niznick School of Dentistry and the Winnipeg Division.

On April 26, the UM School of Dentistry celebrated this important milestone at an event and announced that the Dr. Alfred E. Deacon Medical Research Foundation and Cholakis Dental Group will now sponsor the Pediatric Dental Outreach Program. With this support, the program will now be renamed Chorakis Dental Group: Pediatric Dental Outreach Program.

Six people in medical gowns stand around a student sitting in front of a dental model.

Winnipeg School District stakeholders and key partners visited the Gerald Niznik Dental School as part of the anniversary event.

The outreach program was launched in 1998 with Shaughnessy Park School by Dr. Charles Lekic, then director of pediatric dentistry at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. The program has since expanded to provide free dental care to youth at 18 schools in the Winnipeg School District.

“This program provides much-needed oral health care to children and plays an important role in the education of our dental and dental hygiene students,” Gerald Niznik School of Dentistry Dean Anastasia · Dr. Keleckis-Cholakis said. “We value our strong partnerships with participating schools and the Winnipeg School District and are grateful for the generous support of our new sponsors. We look forward to the next 25 years.

Mohamed Rezai, assistant superintendent of anti-racism, equity and climate justice for the Winnipeg School District, thanked the Faculty of Dentistry for offering this program.

“I know this means a lot to a lot of families,” Rezai said. “I'm new to this. I know what it means to really not have the money to get some of these treatments. So, it's been very valuable and I'm really grateful and grateful for our partnership.

Winnipeg Faculty stakeholders are invited to the Faculty of Dentistry to tour the dental building and hear from key partners. Dr. William Wiltshire, professor and chair of the Department of Preventive Dental Sciences and chairman of the Division of Orthodontics and Orthodontics, gave a presentation on the program.

generous support

At the event, Dr. Peter Nickerson, vice provost (health sciences) and dean of the Rady School of Health Sciences, announced the new funding and thanked the Dr. Alfred E. Deacon Medical Research Foundation and Cholakis Dental Group for ensuring children’s health outreach Plans continue to provide excellent dental care and education.

The four of them took a group photo.

[Left to right] Peter Nickerson, Ph.D., vice provost (health sciences) and dean, Rady College of Health Sciences; Cindy Krowetz, office manager, Cholakis Dental Group; Elizabeth Deacon, board member of the Dr. Alfred E. Deacon Medical Research Foundation; and Alfred E. John Deacon, Chairman, Dr. E. Deakin Medical Research Foundation.

“Thanks to your support, the University of Michigan will be able to provide vital dental services to inner-city elementary school students for decades to come,” Nickerson said.

Cholakis Dental Group Office Manager Cindy Krowetz said that with the generous support of the Dr. Alred E. Learning experiences of dental students at the Dr. Gerald Niznik School of Dentistry.

“We are pleased to be co-sponsoring this project with Dr. Ernest Cholakis and his financial commitment to sustain the program,” said John Deacon, president of the Dr. Alfred E. Deacon Medical Research Foundation.

lasting impact

About 40 children are sent to the dental school's clinic each week for care on Fridays during the school year.

In 2022-23, dental students screened more than 2,500 children in kindergarten through 6th grade. addin partnership with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

Two dental students are treating a child lying in the dental chair.

Approximately 40 children are brought to the dental school's clinic every Friday during the school year as part of the Choulakis Dental Group: Children's Dental Outreach Program.

“Many children come to us with severe pain and discomfort,” said Dr. Jim Ksionzyk, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of undergraduate pediatric dentistry at the Gerald Niznik School of Dentistry. “Through the treatments we offer, we are able to alleviate this pain and, for many children, we are able to prevent further complications with their permanent teeth by treating their primary teeth.”

Kim Storer, a community support worker at Lord Nelson and Weston schools, said UM's dental outreach program has had a positive impact on children.

“A lot of them had never been to the dentist, and they were a little anxious at first, but the dental students were very nice to them. They came and loved it,” Storer said.

Choulakis Dental Group: Children’s Dental Outreach Program will not only continue to help inner-city kids, but will also provide valuable experience to dental students. Providing care to children through the program inspired fourth-year dental student Navi Mann to pursue a one-year residency in pediatric dentistry at SickKids Hospital in Toronto.

“Ultimately, treating kids depends on how you interact with them, and you have to make dentistry less scary for them, which can be a little challenging,” Mann said. “But I think staying positive and trying to show the kids what you’re doing and being creative with them all the time — that really helps — and this program gave me a lot of perspective on dealing with kids in the real world. The way.



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