Pediatrician Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.P.H. ’88, in addition to being a professor in, and alumna of, UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, saw the ravages soda and junk food had made in the teeth of children in areas she knew from her stint in the Peace Corps, where such decay had been been nearly unknown. She knew a public health emergency when she saw one, and decided to do something about it. She founded the Children’s Oral Health and Nutrition Project in 2004 with her own money and time and secured donations of toothpaste and toothbrushes. Since then, more than 100 volunteers, many of them Berkeley undergrads and grad students, have extended the project to five countries in the Americas and Asia. Decay is down, smiles look better, and the volunteers are going into careers in medicine and public health. A classic win-win, and there’s much more to the story.
Tags: Public Health