Dr. Bari Levine is the founder and CEO of the dental non-profit organization, the Growing Smiles Foundation. She started the Foundation with her family, while she was in dental school, to provide free, comprehensive dental care for underserved children in Peru. Their team includes her mother, Dr. Sheryl Radin, brother, Dr. Ross Levine, father, Dr. Robert Levine, and local dental students and faculty from around Philadelphia.
In 2012, Dr. Bari first traveled to an orphanage in Peru with Temple University medical students. While there, she immediately noticed the need for oral health education and care among the children there and had a strong desire to return. In 2013, Dr. Bari assembled a small team (including Dr. Radin and three other dental students), to travel back to the orphanage to study, diagnose, and document the oral health status of the children at La Sagrada Familia orphanage. For the next two years, her team returned to the orphanage on an annual basis to provide comprehensive oral health care and education. They found through their follow-up visits and research that their brief oral health intervention had caused a positive change in the children’s long-term oral health.
The Growing Smiles Foundation has returned to Peru every year since 2012! Their team also partners with a local dental school in Lima, the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC), to provide sustainability and follow up care. The Growing Smiles Foundation team works hand and hand with UPC while in Peru and refers patients to UPC for follow up dental care. This project also promotes the interaction of dental students and faculty members from the United States and Peru.
To-date, together, the Foundation and UPC have provided over $600,000 in free dental care to children in need!
Dr. Bari is currently replicating her program for high-risk children in Philadelphia schools. For more information, visit their website at www.growingsmilesfoundation.com.