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UB Dental School students to host fundraiser for Gigi's Playhouse in Buffalo


Wed, Jan 24th 2024 03:40 pm

Inclusive fashion and talent show open to public

By the University at Buffalo

The University at Buffalo student chapter of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) is highlighting the fashion flair and creative talents of individuals of all abilities on Saturday, Jan. 27, during the UB Dental inclusive fashion and talent show. It will be held 6-10 p.m. at the Buffalo Marriott at LECOM Harborcenter.

All proceeds from the show will go to GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center of Buffalo.

“The American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry strives to improve the quality of health care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This fundraiser is one fun way to achieve that,” said Ava Walch, a third-year dental student and co-president of the UB chapter of the AADMD. She is organizing the show with Paige Warmuth, co-president who is also a third-year dental student.

Walch and Warmuth invited dental school students, faculty and staff members to walk the runway and showcase their personalities, individual styles and unique cultures with different fashion lines and talent acts.

“We have also invited our friends from GiGi’s Playhouse and Touching Bases Softball League, with whom we volunteered this past year, to join,” Warmuth said. “Both of these organizations create opportunities for people with intellectual and development disabilities, and we are excited to have them at our show this year.”

Fifty-three dental students and two faculty members have signed up so far to walk the runway in clothing that reflects a theme, some of which are divided by students’ year of study in the dental program. For instance, third-year students are planning to model a “Canadian tuxedo line” in full denim. Meanwhile, second-year students have adopted a “party animals” theme, and first-year students have chosen a “decades theme,” Warmuth said.

Other themes include “cultural,” “sports, “under the white coat” and “Met Gala formal attire” lines. Students from the Smile PRIDE Club and the Hispanic Dental Association, along with other UB dental clubs, are expected to hit the runway in some of these fashions.

“Those individuals participating who have disabilities will pick their favorite fashion line and join the runway,” Warmuth said. “We will also have talent portions from individuals from GiGi’s Playhouse, including signing with American Sign Language (ASL). The talents of our own dental students will be featured in singing and instrumental performances and, hopefully, dancing.”

This marks the second year for UB’s AADMD chapter to host the inclusive fashion and talent show. Last year, more than 250 attendees helped raise almost $3,000 for Miles for Smiles of John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and Special Smiles of the Western New York Special Olympics.

“Our hope is that the sentiment behind promoting inclusivity and facilitating outreach activities and events to people with disabilities will transfer to the dental office,” Warmuth said. “Our goal is to reduce barriers to care that this community faces and create an environment where people with disabilities can receive oral health care in a comfortable way for both the provider and the patient.”

Cost is $25 for UB students, and $35 for faculty, staff and members of the community. Everyone must have a ticket to participate, including models, volunteers and audience members. Tickets may be purchased online at the dental school’s website. Admission includes the show, appetizers and dessert. A cash bar will be available.

Commitment to Inclusive Oral Health Care

The School of Dental Medicine is committed to providing holistic oral health care to patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities in supportive, caring and respectful environments. The school offers comprehensive outreach programs, including the annual “Give Kids A Smile Day”; and a partnership with Arc GLOW, which provides dental care to patients with disabilities in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties through its S-Miles To Go mobile dental program.

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