The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Futures hosted a Crescent City SMILEFEST for hundreds of children at Sherwood Forest Elementary School. The event highlighted the importance of establishing and maintaining habits that promote good oral health, hygiene, nutrition, and fitness.
SMILEFEST featured a host of games and activities focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) that tested students’ health and wellness knowledge and provided tips and information to help them care for their health, minds, and bodies. The students visited the Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Futures mobile dental van, where they received free dental screenings, oral health education, treatment referrals, and product giveaways. New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard Trey Murphy III also made a special appearance and joined the students, teachers, parents, and other guests in a SMILEFEST second-line strut.
“When we think about the future, it starts with children just like the girls and boys in this room,” said Dr. Gillian Barclay, vice president-global public health and scientific affairs, Colgate-Palmolive Company. “Educating our children and encouraging them to brush their teeth properly, eat nutritious foods, exercise, and practice good hygiene will determine not just whether their smiles are bright but whether they can enjoy the healthy, productive lives that we imagine for each and every one of them.”
The SMILEFEST celebration kicked off AMCHP’s 2023 annual conference, providing the organization’s leadership and early conferees an opportunity to participate in a day of community service, interact with state and local health professionals, and promote strategies for improving the health and lives of Louisiana mothers, children and families. Louisiana has the highest maternal mortality rate in the United States.i
In addition, Louisiana was ranked 49th out of 50 states in child well-being by the 2022 Kids Count Data Book published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“Integrating oral health practices at a young age is a key building block to good overall health across the lifespan,” said Terrance E. Moore, chief executive officer of the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs. “We are thrilled to be here today to support learning and dental care for children and their families, one of the simplest yet unmet health needs in the U.S.”
“When I was your age, I dreamed of playing basketball in the NBA,” Trey Murphy III told his young audience. “My dream came true, and yours can too, but it requires a commitment – a promise that you make to yourself to take care of your health, expand your mind with the knowledge you learn here in school and through the other opportunities and experiences that are open to you, and by remembering: ‘the starting point of all achievement is a desire to succeed.’”
About the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) is a national resource, partner, and advocate for state public health leaders and others working to improve the health of women, infants, children, youth, parents, families, and communities. AMCHP builds successful programs to serve its members by disseminating best practices; advocating on their behalf in Washington, DC; providing technical assistance; convening leaders to share experiences and ideas; and advising states about involving partners to reach our common goal of healthy children, healthy families, and healthy communities.
For more information visit www.amchp.org and follow AMCHP on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
About Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures
Established in 1991, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) has reached more than 1.6 billion children in more than 100 countries across the world. The program strategically partners to reach underserved children and their families where they are born, live, work, learn and play.
BSBF continues to promote health equity, optimal health and well-being, and to lead global social impact efforts that empower children and families to achieve healthy and bright futures. In the US, BSBF dental vans are based in hub-cities and travel to rural and urban communities to help raise awareness about the importance of children’s oral health. Last year, the U.S.-based BSBF mobile community program reached over 50 million children and families with onsite and virtual van visits that focused on the importance of oral health, balanced nutrition and hand washing.
To learn more about Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, visit www.colgatebsbf.com. CL-C