California has never had a surgeon general, but that will change today. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a San Francisco-based pediatrician, has pioneered research into the effect that childhood traumas have on health. As the state’s top doctor, Burke Harris will act in an advisory capacity to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Burke Harris will also work to promote programs like SJ TEETH, which provides dental cleanings to low-income kids. It partners with organizations like First 5 San Joaquin, which supports early childhood development programs, including a preschool program in Lathrop.
On this particular day, dental hygienist Deborah Delfino sits in front of the class and uses a puppet named Bob to teach the kids how to brush their teeth.
“OK now Bob, I want you to open real big. Can we all help Bob open big? Help him go, 'Awwww!' " she tells the kids
The 4- and 5-year-olds respond by eagerly opening their mouths and showing off their teeth.
After the lesson Delfino gives some of the kids a quick teeth cleaning in a corner of the room. During the exams she makes sure to clearly explain to them what she’s doing.