Media Advisory




Onolee Stephen, Special Olympics | | 585.519.3070

 Jean Dalmath | (585) 755-6911

Karen Black, Eastman Institute for Oral Health | | 585-721-0647


Saturday Will Be A"Day for Special Smiles" For People With Intellectual Disabilities, Who Will Get Needed Dental Treatment 

Boston Dentist, Dr. Steven Perlman, Founder of International Special Smiles
to Welcome 30 Volunteers 



First "A Day for Special Smiles," to Provide Needed Dental Treatment to People with Intellectual Disabilities

Special Olympics, the Golisano Foundation and UR Medicine's Eastman Dental are taking action to bridge a long-standing gap to improve access and oral health care for people with intellectual disabilities (ID).

  • For the first time in this area and the second time in the nation, A Day for Special Smiles, part of Special Olympics Healthy Communities, will provide more than 20 Special Olympic athletes from the region with needed dental treatment free of charge.
  • The program also provides the opportunity for dentists to get experience treating people with ID. For most of the dentists participating, it will be their first time treating people with disabilities in a clinical setting. As more dentists gain this experience, we will be able to connect more people with care.
  • By eliminating barriers and connecting people with care in their community we hope to address health problems that are preventable and treatable, so they can live fuller and more productive lives.



Saturday May 17

  • 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (patients will be seen in two groups, one at 8:30 and another at 10:30)
  • Eastman Dental Downtown, 228 East Main St. in Rochester
  • Treatment is by appointment for those already scheduled. Not open to the public.



The following individuals will be available for interviews

  • More than 30 volunteers - dentists, dental students, dental assistants, faculty, and staff will provide the care
  • 21 Special Olympics Athletes receiving care
  • Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation
  • Onolee Stephan, Director, Community Health Program for Special Olympics in Rochester
  • Dr. Steven Perlman, founder of the Special Smiles program, and Senior Global Clinical Advisor, Clinical Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at The Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine



Special Olympics is an international organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day around the world. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics New York is the largest Special Olympics chapter in the US and offers sports training and competition to nearly 65,000 athletes state-wide. The opportunities presented through Special Olympics allow our athletes to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience the joy of achievement, and to make new friends. 


The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with intellectual disabilities. Through its targeted initiatives, it is a catalyst for transformation, encouraging communities to commit to inclusion, acceptance and opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to provide services that empower individuals to make their way productively and creatively in their communities. In addition to providing funding, the foundation also serves as a proactive partner with organizations that serve people with intellectual disabilities, working together to promote acceptance and inclusion in the community and workplace.


For nearly 100 years, Eastman Dental/Eastman Institute for Oral Health has been serving Rochester as the leader in high quality, general and specialized dental care. Eastman Dental is part of Eastman Institute for Oral Health, a world leader in research and post-doctoral education programs. UR Medicine is the University of Rochester's health care system. It includes Strong Memorial Hospital (and its inpatient and outpatient components such as Golisano Children's Hospital, Wilmot Cancer Center, and Flaum Eye Institute), University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group, Highland Hospital, Thompson Health, Eastman Dental and University Dental Faculty Group, The Highlands at Brighton, The Highlands Living Center, Visiting Nurse Service, and a range of clinical programs serving patients across western New York.