In February 2019, Dr. Bunnag, the Smiles team, and scholars Chalita and Mutita traveled to Hong Kong to give a TEDx Talk at Lingnan University. The theme of the event was Dauntless which means to show fearlessness and determination, the perfect word to describe Dr. Bunnag's journey with Smiles On Wings.
Growing up in a small town in Thailand with limited opportunities, Dr. Bunnag's fate was the same as many poor Thai girls today, either marry young or leave the village to work as waitstaff or in massage parlors and risk becoming a victim of the sex trade industry. Through education she has been able to change her destiny. Today she is a dentist with two successful dental practices and a humanitarian that is uplifting communities one girl, one village and one mission at a time.
Thank you to all of our donors, sponsors and supporters that have made this possible. And a special thanks to TEDx Lingnan University for giving us this opportunity. Please like, share and enjoy the video!
Join Smiles on Wings in celebrating 15 years of making smiles and keeping smiles!
October marks Smiles on Wings' 15th anniversary! Over the past 15 years, Smiles has hosted dental mission trips, provided humanitarian aid, and given young ladies the education and empowerment they need and deserve through our scholarship programs. As Smiles' founder Dr. Usa Bunnag once said:
"Dentistry allowed us to create Smiles on Wings. In return, Smiles on Wings gave us an opportunity to do more than I had set out to do."
Thank you to all of the team members, volunteers, and donors who continually allow Smiles to live out its mission. Here's to another 15 years!
ATLANTA, Oct. 16, 2017 — Usa Bunnag, D.D.S., of Bethesda, Maryland, will receive the 2017 American Dental Association Humanitarian Award at the Opening General Session of ADA 2017 – America’s Dental Meeting. The award will be presented by ADA President Gary L. Roberts, D.D.S.
Dr. Bunnag is best-known for her organization Smiles on Wings, which has carried out biannual dental volunteer trips to her native Thailand since 2003. In 2014, with partial funding from the ADA Foundation Post-Tsunami Dental Reconstruction Program, Smiles on Wings built a permanent dental clinic to serve the community.
Dr. Bunnag’s work in the U.S. has been an equal labor of love. She works extensively with Bethesda-area Medicaid and refugee programs, in addition to serving a Washington D.C. community of Buddhist monks since 1996.
“It is my honor to be the first woman to receive this award and I would like to dedicate this award to my mother who instilled in me the importance of giving and being altruistic,” Dr. Bunnag said. “My message for all the young girls out there in villages around the world and to young immigrant children in the US is keep on dreaming. Don’t stop believing in yourself. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your dream.”
The ADA Humanitarian Award recognizes dentist members who have distinguished themselves by giving at least 10 years to improving the oral health of underserved populations in the U.S. and abroad. The award includes $10,000 that is given to the dental charity/project of the recipient’s choice.
To learn more about Dr. Bunnag, read this story in ADA News.
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing more than 161,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website MouthHealthy.org.