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In This Issue


Your donation to WSU’s Gift of Smiles will brighten more lives

Maria before and after dental makeover

Stories like this involving a woman named Maria are ones that the Advanced Education in General Dentistry program at Wichita State University would love to tell over and over again.

Maria came to the AEGD clinic with severely neglected teeth and related tooth and mouth pain. Though she works full-time, usually seven days a week, Maria was unable to afford the kind of dental care she needed, so her church reached out to AEGD. The dental residency program, now in its fourth year of operation at WSU, was able to give Maria a dazzling new smile and relieve her pain, at almost no cost to her.

Dr. Parham Shahkar was the dental resident assigned to Maria's care.
Dr. Parham Shahkar was the dental resident assigned to Maria's care.

How? Partly with the help of community partners who donated costly products and services, but also with funds in its Gift of Smiles program, says Natalie Olmsted, AEGD’s clinic director. The program is intended to help low-income patients get the care they need, especially patients with complex problems who would provide invaluable learning experiences for the residents.

But with very limited funds, the program isn’t able to meet the need. Donations to beef up the program are badly needed, Olmsted says.

Staff at Paul Mitchell Beauty School donated services to help give Maria a makeover
Staff at Paul Mitchell Beauty School donated services, arranged by Dr. Parham Shahkar, to help give Maria a makeover.

“We don’t like telling patients we can’t help them,” she says. “It’s very important for us to serve the underserved. It’s part of our mission.”

Dr. Parham Shahkar was the dental resident assigned to Maria’s care. “This was by far one of the greatest experiences of my career,” he said. “It was such a great feeling to see Maria with her new smile and new look.”

Several organizations such as Delta Dental of Kansas and Via Christi Health have stepped up in the past. Olmsted is hoping that people who see Maria’s transformation will consider making a donation to make it possible for Gift of Smiles to serve many more like her.

circle arrow If you would like to support the Gift of Smiles program with a donation, contact De’Ron Scott, WSU Foundation development officer for the WSU College of Health Professions, at 316-978-3852 or