Last week, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) Foundation hosted a press conference at its downtown headquarters for Healthy NewsWorks, a project that teaches elementary and middle school students how to report and write about public health issues in their schools and communities. 

Stacey Benner, education director for Kids Smiles, presented information on dental health for children and talked about the group's mission of providing dental care and health education to children in under-served communities.

IBC Foundation president Lorina Marshall-Blake opened the press conference and  introduced moderator, Carolyn Beeler, of NewsWork's Health and Science desk. Beeler encouraged the fledgling reporters and gave them some insights into the profession. 

Benner then fielded a wide range of of questions on the topic of dental health -- from how to tell the early warning signs of a cavity, to whether children should use tooth whitening products.  She stressed the importance of educating families about dental health.

"Tooth decay is a form of disease that can spread to other parts of the body if untreated", said Benner.

The Healthy NewsWorks journalists will use the material gathered at the press conference to create newspaper on dental health. The newspapers are distributed in participating schools and in the student's communities.

Healthy NewsWorks and Kids Smiles are both Independence Blue Cross Foundation grantees. The press conference brought the two groups together in a way that organizers saw as a good fit for both groups. 

At the conclusion of the press conference IBC Foundation presented Healthy NewsWorks with a check for $10,000.