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Mo. appoints new dental director

missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner
The Missouri state Capitol

The Department of Health and Senior Services has appointed Missouri’s first dental director in more than a decade.

Dr. Ray Storm is a dentist from the St. Louis area. He founded Give Kids a Smile, a nonprofit that holds annual free dental clinics for children in need. The Missouri Oral Health Coalition helped raise the funds to reinstate the position in the state. Gary Harbison, the coalition’s director, said he’s pleased with Storm’s appointment.

“He’s well known, he’s had many honors, he’s very experienced and his work with underserved population is a real plus for someone working with the state,” he said.

According to Harbison, a state dental director will perform advocacy and leadership roles in the efforts to better Missouri's oral health. The Missouri Foundation for Health, Delta Dental, and the REACH Healthcare Foundation has pledged about $340,000 to help the state fund the dental director position for the next three years.

Harum Helmy started as KBIA's Health and Wealth reporter in January 2013. She has previously worked at the station as a news assistant, helping assign and edit stories by student reporters. Harum grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and graduated from MU with degrees in journalism and anthropology in 2011. She's trying to finish up an MA in journalism.