Jefferson Award Winner: Dr. Daniel Tanita

CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — His patients say he’s so gentle and mild-mannered that they call him the dental version of TV’s Mr. Rogers. Because of him, thousands of students are getting the dental care they need.

“That’s a good boy,” Dr. Daniel Tanita told the six-year-old who lay perfectly still in the dental chair.

Tanita believes in a simple equation: if you can’t get children to the dentist’s office, bring the office to kids like Alejandro Mora.

“This was my first time,” Mora reported afterward. “It was fun.”

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A few steps inside Peres Elementary School in Richmond, Dr. Tanita has set up shop. His free clinic opens several times a month. He and several volunteer dentists serve about 300 kids — half the student body.

“They don’t have access going to the dentist on a regular basis,” Tanita explained. “A lot of them the…

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