SANTA YNEZ, CA – The Santa Ynez Tribal Health Clinic (SYTHC) will hold its third annual Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) event from 8:00am to 5:00pm on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the clinic, located on the reservation at 90 Via Juana Lane in Santa Ynez. The event provides children, ages 1-12, with free dental work, including exams and cleanings.
As one of SYTHC’s biggest events of the year, the clinic’s dental department will provide dental care for any local child regardless of income or insurance status. Children will receive a comprehensive oral examination (including X-rays when appropriate), teeth cleaning, oral health education and dietary recommendations. Any treatment that is diagnosed during the exams will be completed at follow-up visits throughout 2023. The event will be staffed by SYTHC dentists, registered dental assistants and dental hygienists. During last year’s event, nearly $10,000 of dental services were provided to 27 children at no cost to their families.
“Our dental department looks forward to this event every year because it gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the importance of pediatric oral health and to hopefully make a positive and lasting impact on our young patients,” said Dr. Mike Savidan, Dental Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
“It’s an honor to be able to be able to hold this annual event that has no out-of-pocket cost to our patients,” said Richard Matens, Chief Health Officer for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “Give Kids A Smile gives parents an opportunity to provide their children with dental care that they otherwise might not get each year.”
GKAS is a national program launched in 2003 by the American Dental Association (ADA), with the goal of providing no-cost care for thousands of children at hundreds of locations nationwide. With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, each year during the first week of the month, dental offices across the country partner with the ADA and celebrate with their own GKAS event, providing much-needed free dental treatment to underserved children in their local communities.
Located on the Santa Ynez Reservation, SYTHC accommodates more than 20,000 patient visits per year, has an active patient population of over 7,400 and employs 70 team members. While the clinic’s comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health services are available to Chumash community members, the clinic also treats non-Native patients of diverse ethnic backgrounds with unique needs. The facility accepts Medicare, Medi-Cal and most major insurance plans.
The clinic is a not-for-profit organization under the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) guidelines and receives funding through various grants, including grants from the Indian Health Service (IHS). The clinic has achieved mature contractor status with IHS and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is certified as an FQHC look-a-like Medi-Cal/Medicare facility.