KidSMILES board members and Executive Director Julie Homon in one of the clinic’s treatment rooms.
KidSMILES was founded in 2008 by Dr. Jim Homon in response to a critical shortage of affordable dental options for low-income families in central Ohio. Dr. Jeff Milton, Dr. Tim Edwards, Dr. Jennifer Livermore and Dr. Fred Sakamoto are also local dental professionals who serve on the KidSMILES board and help define KidSMILES’ mission.
Julie Homon has served as KidSMILES’ Executive Director in a volunteer capacity since 2010. With a unique operating model that relies on volunteers to staff the clinic, KidSMILES is able to keep costs low. We are currently looking for the following volunteers to serve in the clinic and assist with the educational outreach program. For more information, visit the Volunteers page.
KidSMILES is proud to be a transparent organization. To see details of our leadership, financial history and program costs, please visit our Columbus Foundation portrait or review our most recent 990 federal tax form.
According to an Ohio Department of Health report in 2010, dental care is the number one unmet health care need for children in Ohio. More than 12% of children in Franklin County and 22% of children in Delaware County have never visited a dentist. Even children with access to Medicaid are not receiving consistent dental care—58% of covered children between ages 3-18 did not see a dentist in 2008.
There are many barriers to good dental care including high costs, long wait times andfew options. And since dental issues are considered non-life-threatening, families with limited income often choose not to seek preventative care.
Additionally, more than 39% of Ohioans do not have dental insurance. Earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford monthly dental premiums, these families are often the most likely to have dental-related problems. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children without dental insurance are more than three times more likely to have dental issues than their peers with private and public insurance.
Through services at the pediatric dental clinic and outreach into preschool and elementary school classes, KidSMILES provides high-quality dental care to children who would otherwise go without.