On September 4, at a ceremony held at the Sheraton Hotel, Dr. Brian Shuman was recognized with a Building Block Award by the United Way for his work and efforts on behalf of the Vermont Special Olympics. Dr. Shuman and Dr. Nevin Zablotsky Co-Chair the dental screening program for Vermont Special Olympics athletes. Their idea to “bump it up a notch” was to expand the screening program to include students from Harvard, Boston University and Tufts University Dental Schools, VTC Hygiene School and Essex Tech Assisting School. As a result, over 50 new volunteers were involved in the health screening this year.
In addition Dr. Shuman developed and implemented a new program that awards a “Healthy Athlete” gold medal for competitors who complete the dental screening event. As a result, 170 (65%) of the athletes received a dental screening and a “Healthy Athlete” Medal. Dr. Shuman says “It is our goal that 100% of the athletes participate in all of the available health screenings as part of the Special Olympic Athlete Status Training they each receive. It was a pleasure to see so many athletes availing themselves of the services offered by the expanded dental teams.”
These Vermont innovations are now being evaluated by the National Special Olympics Organization for implementation into all USA and international competitions. “That is more than we had expected this soon. It is nice to see Vermont leading the way.”