Abrahim Caroci, DMD, MSc, Pediatric Dentistry resident at Eastman Institute for Oral Health, plunged into the freezing waters of Lake Ontario last weekend for a very good reason.
"This is very different than the Braziian beaches at home," he laughed. "So if I can do it, anyone can!"
Dr. Caroci and more than 2,000 others took the plunge during this annual event to raise awareness and money for Special Olympics.
"Working at Eastman Dental and URMC, we treat people with all types of abilities and we know the positive role physical play has in our lives," said Dr. Caroci, who holds a special place in his heart for people with intellectual differences.
Due to a variety of challenges, oral health care is the number one unmet health need among people with developmental disabilities. Dr. Caroci proposed and organized the country’s first A Day for Special Smiles in Arizona, and played an integral role in establishing the second event, where patients were treated by Eastman's specialists, who were also training other dentists about the unique needs of this population. The event was sponsored by Eastman Institute for Oral Health and the Golisano Foundation last Spring. Eastman Dental will soon dedicate one day a month to treat patients with developmental disabilities at its downtown location.
“We want to provide an experience for current and future dentists and oral health leaders to increase their skills and comfort level to treat patients with developmental disabilities," said Dr. Caroci. “Eastman is a perfect place to foster this relationship. Special Olympics give athletes valuable opportunities to not just participate in physical activities, but to receive health and dental screenings through the Healthy Athletes Program."